Ashursts to turn its back on US after merger hopes crash

Ashurst Morris Crisp has released an extraordinary statement over the collapse of its merger talks with Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson – admitting that a link-up with US firm is now “off the agenda”.

Ashurst’s managing partner Justin Spendlove said that a transatlantic merger was not the plan for “the foreseeable future” and that the firm would concentrate its efforts on Europe.

However he also said: “We have already spoken to many clients and received very encouraging feedback.

“And the same is true of our legal contacts in New York, where a merger would have put an end to many strong relationships with other US law firms.”

The firm’s senior partner Geoffrey Green said: “The prerequisites of any merger must be first, to advance our service to clients; over the long term we believe this could have been achieved.

“The second is to ensure that there is no disruption for clients in the short or medium term. We were not able to satisfy ourselves that the long term benefits outweighed the short and medium term uncertainties.”

In a joint statement the two firms blamed “uncertainties” for the decision to mutually end discussions.