Howard Kennedy FSI abandons merger with Davenport Lyons

HowardKennedyFsi (HKFsi) has called off merger talks with Davenport Lyons, making it the second firm to turn its back on the media boutique in less than a month.

Davenport Lyons, which has not responded to requests for comment, has been urgently looking for a merger partner. The West End firm approached HKFsi days after its negotiations with Shakespeares were called off (30 January 2014).

A spokesperson for HKFsi, which remains in talks with 11-partner London firm CKFT (25 February 2014), said it had withdrawn from the discussions after “careful consideration”.

It is not yet clear yet why the discussions ground to a halt. The merger talks were initially forecast to last another six weeks.

Davenport Lyons saw its profit per equity partner slip 12.5 per cent to £197,000 last year, representing a 20 per cent drop since 2011. In November it made the decision to close its film and TV group (13 November 2013) and trim its trainee cohort (29 November 2013). 

HKFsi, the result of a merger between legacy Howard Kennedy and Finers Stephens Innocent in January 2013 (31 January 2013), hired its first chief operating officer (COO) in a bid to integrate the merged firm (29 January 2014).

Equity partners were presented with a series of ideas drawn out by Harvey last month, though it is not clear if further mergers were part of that presentation.