Ashurst Morris Crisp and Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson have called off merger talks.
It is understood that the long drawn out negotiations finally collapsed at some point over the weekend.
The collapse signals the third time that Ashursts has failed to tie down a merger after talks with Clifford Chance fell through in 1998 and it saw its US ambitions dashed in 2001 when negotiations with Latham & Watkins crashed in 2001.
As exclusively revealed by The Lawyer, talks began to falter based on issues over the two firms differing remuneration systems, since Ashursts operates on lockstep while Fried Frank rewards top performing senior partners with extra points.
However it is also understood that certain factions within Ashursts, especially in Europe, were opposed to the merger.