Salans, SNR Denton push back merger vote

Salans and SNR Denton have delayed a vote on a merger, with partners now expected to be polled on the potential combination next month at the earliest.

Management at the two firms were originally set to put the deal to the respective partnerships in September, several months after merger talks started late last year (22 August 2012).

But The Lawyer understands the vote had been held back until at least late October, with several sources saying there had been delays to the negotations.

Details of the protracted talks are still not being communicated to either partnerships, with partners at both firms uninformed through official routes about the possible tie-up.

A source close to the firm said: “I think there may be some back-pedaling. Everyone is really keeping this close to the vest.”

A deal would come shortly after SNR Denton announced a tie-up with South Africa firm KapdiTwala, which it has added to its alliance network (11 September 2012).

SNR Denton was also one of the firms that considered merging with Dewey & LeBoeuf before the latter’s collapse earlier this year (2 August 2012).

The Lawyer first reported the tie-up talks in February, by which time negotations were already thought to be advanced (14 February 2012). However, the highly drawn-out discussions have lasted for months, with the deal not even featuring on the formal agenda at Salans’ partner conference in May (21 May 2012).

A tie-up would create a heftier transatlantic practice with annual turnover of roughly £760m based on the firms’ latest financial results. Salans’ Moscow and Paris offices, among its strongest bases, are seen as SNR Denton’s main targets. Salans, meanwhile, is regarded as a disparate business needing a stronger and more cohesive international footprint.

Both firms declined to comment.