The Lawyer first revealed in September 2001 that the firm identified a list of four potential targets, which were believed to have included Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
However, after meeting with no success, the firm is now hoping to expand its nine-partner New York practice through lateral hires.
Linklaters managing partner Tony Angel, who is taking on overseeing the Americas after Terence Kyle retires on 31 July, said: “We’re looking to build in New York. There are various options and you don’t turn your back on any of them.”
But he added: “To find a merger of the calibre we’d look for, we’d like to see a firm of the quality of Sullivan & Cromwell. But if these types of firms aren’t looking for a merger, then you have to look at other opportunities.”
UK firms, though, have had mixed success with lateral hires in the US market due to the disparity between their profits per partner and pay at US firms.
Last year Linklaters’ average profits per partner reached £650,000.