Norton Rose to merge with Canada's Ogilvy and South Africa's Deneys

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  • THIS ISN"T A REAL MERGER. It's a branding exercise. Where are the shared profits? This is not one organisation but several!

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  • The South African side is very sweet. Norton Rose can sell an African presence to its Asian clients who want to invest over there.I predict a lot of people will get really sniffy about this deal but the African piece has substance.

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  • So long as Norton Rose London hangs on to its quality people this should all shape up nicely. Like all large firms, though, they need to remember that it is quality of lawyers that matters, way above quantity. Always ask yourself, whom of your colleagues would you consider hiring to do a job for you personally? Do everything to hang on to those people - they are the ones who are worth it.

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  • @ Johnny Cash - That will clearly come in time but it's not always possible to do these things immediately.

    Remember also that the Big 4 accountancy firms have multiple partnerships but are very much single global firms with massive market power.

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  • Very interesting move. It's very much like what CC was trying to achieve in late 1990s/early 2000s -but which didn't happen in the end. However, perhaps 10 years ago there just wasn't the business case. But, perhaps now there really is one. Sometimes law firm strategy is like that, the top frms try things out that are not quite ready and then give up or backtrack to more sure ground, meanwhile other firms come along some years later and put it all into practice when the 'conditions are right'. I expect we'll see many more deals like this in the next few years.

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  • Johnny Cash - The entire premise of your comment is counter-factual, since the combined firm will not operate as a franchise but will have a single management. It will not, for now, have a single partnership, but that is very far from making it a franchise. Perhaps you should look up franchise in the dictionary.
    Re McDonalds, although your analogy is in this case fundamentally flawed it does in any event beg the question, what is so wrong with being like McDonalds? It does afterall own one of the most valuable brands in the world, makes billions of dollars per year in profits and is the undisputed leader of its industry. You may also not be aware that McDonalds actually does directly own many of its restaurants.

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  • I agree with the second commenter - people will get sniffy about this because it seems like the default reaction to every merger these days. But NR's track record with Australia shows that (so far) they seem to be ahead of the game.
    And the argument about separate profit pools just doesn't hold water. None of these other mergers we've seen have launched straight into shared profit pools - it's just not practicable.
    I think this is a great move. And so does my dog

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  • There have been a few law firm mergers that have been announced in Canada in the past week but this one is the biggest by far. Ogilvy Renault merged with another well-respected Canadian firm over 10 years ago and that merger went over smoothly. Ogilvy Renault is definitely a major player in Canada, it's in the top 10, so Norton and Ogilvys definitely have the resources and the know-how to make this happen and have it work.

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  • Isn't this just the M5 Group but on a global scale. And someone remind us all please what happened to the constituent parts of that?!?

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  • Andrew - couldn't agree more. Sharing profits is not the only thing that defines a merged firm. Look at all the firms that open up all over the place but only have salaried partners in the less profitable parts of the network. Does that mean they aren't one firm?
    It's simplistic to suggest that a merger that doesn't share profits is no more than a elaborate franchising deal.
    I think NR should be applauded for this. Just like in Australia, you can guarantee others are going to follow.

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