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26 February 2001
Lovells is in merger talks with Spanish-based Castro Sueiro & Varela Abogados and discussions with the firm are reaching a critical stage.A source close to Lovells says the talks with the Spanish banking and derivatives practice are now at a "sensitive stage".It is understood that Lovells had met with another Spanish firm, Despacho Melchor de las Heras Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo, more than five months ago to discuss a merger.Then Melchor wanted to retain its independence, although sources close to Lovells say that it may be interested in coming back to the table.However, Melchor partner Mariano Bautista says: "We're happy being independent."Castro is a niche player, with just three partners who all double as its joint managing partners.Lovells and Castro refused to comment.
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