Off-shore giants steam ahead with merger plans

Caribbean firms Hunter & Hunter and Appleby Spurling & Kempe are set to merge in a deal that will re-shape the off-shore legal market.

The combined firm, to be called Appleby Spurling Hunter, will house 100 lawyers and be spread across five key jurisdictions spanning the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, London, the British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong.

Both firms voted unanimously in favour in December though the merger will go live on April 1.

Hunter, which boasts 30 lawyers and acted for Enron when it set up a number of the bankrupt energy trader’s Enron’s Cayman-based holding companies, has offices in the Caymans and London.

While Appleby Spurling, home to 70 lawyers, was a key player in the infamous Thyssen litigation, and includes Southern Cross and Global Crossing among its clients.

The merger is the second to hit the off-shore market this year, after Jersey firm Ogier & Le Masurier announced it was linking-up with Caymans firm Boxalls in February 2004.