If successful the move would see Clydes leapfrog Taylor Wessing and Bird & Bird to rank 14th in The Lawyer’s UK 200 with a combined turnover of £196m. At the 2008-09 year end Clydes saw turnover rise to £185m from £157m a year earlier while Shadbolt’s revenues dipped 4 per cent to £10.8m from £11.2m.
Confirming the move, Clydes chief executive Peter Hasson (pictured) said: “We’re in talks with Shadbolt.”
It is understood that Shadbolt launched a strategic review earlier this year that resulted in the decision to scout the market for a potential tie-up.
The aim was to merge with a firm with a strong presence in the international markets to enable it to compete on a level playing field with larger firms operating in the construction, projects and infrastructure spaces.
Shadbolt currently has just one international office – in Paris – having retrenched from Hong Kong in October 2002. It also has associations with Soimulescu Dragan-Costin Law Offices in Bucharest and Tanzanian-based firm AKO Law.
It is understood that Clydes is keen on bringing Shadbolts into the fold to strengthen its construction, projects and infrastructure practices. The firm has a strategic plan to build up a series of niche groups to target top-end work.
A source close to the deal said the talks were in very early stages, with both sides examining how best to merge two LLPs. One issue is whether Clydes should swallow up the entire Shadbolt partnership or if it should pick off certain practice areas.
Clydes has taken the long-term view of concentrating on growth in developing markets and earlier this year it launched an alliance with ALMT Legal (4 June 2009) and Islamic finance specialist Abdulaziz Al Bosaily Law Office (6 April 2009). The firm also has offices in Shanghai and South America.