Ashurst and Blake Dawson: countdown to merger

Ashurst and Ashurst Australia partners this morning (26 September) voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of the firm’s full financial tie-up. It is a monumental move that has been two years in the making. Here’s how they did it.

24 June 2011

After assessing its options in Australia, the news emerged that Ashurst had held exploratory discussions with Blake Dawson.

1 August 2011

Ashurst was understood to have set up an internal working group of 25-30 partners to work on plans for an Australian presence, while management pressed for a vote on the Blake Dawson merger in early Autumn.

26 September 2011

Ashurst and Blake Dawson partners voted in favour of a tie-up, announcing they would integrate their Asian operations by early 2012, with full financial integration lined up for 2014. Blakes announced its intention to rebrand as Ashurst as soon as the deal went live, with a due date of March 2012.

1 March 2012

The merger went live, with Blake’s branding falling under the Ashurst Australia banner.

14 May 2012

Ashurst announced it would hold management board meetings outside Europe for the first time following the election of the first Asia partner to its committee.

10 September 2012

Ashurst LLP asked its equity partners to pay capital into the firm for the first time in a bid to synchronise its UK and Australian capital structures.

13 December 2012

Ashurst Australia made an undisclosed number of job cuts, as a result of the jurisdiction’s “very challenging market”.

1 February 2013

Ashurst Australia’s managing partner John Carrington deflected reports that between 20 and 50 local equity partners would have to leave or be de-equitised, as the firms tried to align their equity structures.

7 May 2013

Ashurst moved six partners down from its so-called super-plateau – the first time that the firm has removed members from the 65-point level since it was introduced in 2007.

5 July 2013

It emerged that Ashurst had cut the value of each equity point by 7.3 per cent, from roughly £16,200 to £15,000.

11 July 2013

Ashurst announced its new management structure for the merged, global firm. It will scrap its senior partner position, replacing the post with newly-elected global chairman and vice chairman roles. The firm also announced it will have a new 14 member global board and a global division structure based along four business lines.

21 January 2013

Ashurst began consultations with partners on a number of topics, including a US merger. It is understood Geffen has made a number of relationship-building trips to the US over the past two years, and has long been determined to pull of a deal.

24 September 2013

Nominations for the merged firm’s newly-established chairman role were revealed, including current senior partner Charlie Geffen, City litigator Ben Tidswell and Sydney-based competition and consumer protection partner Peter Armitage.

26 September 2013

Ashurst partners vote in favour of full financial integration with Ashurst Australia.