Pinsent Curtis Biddle is set to leave its international alliance to link up with its long-term French ally Granrut Vatier Baudelot & Associés.
However, only 10 of Granrut's 16 partners will link up with Pinsents, while the other six will leave the firm to pursue their careers elsewhere. Name partners Yves Baudelot and Bernard Vatier will both depart, with Vatier setting up his own firm and Baudelot joining the French Batonnier. The realigned French firm will be renamed Granrut and the alliance will take effect from 1 January 2002. Pinsents is leaving the Logos international alliance due to its alliance with Swedish firm Magnusson Wahlin, which took effect from 1 January this year. Granrut also has a relationship with Magnusson and the links are incompatible with membership of Logos. Pinsents senior partner Julian Tonks said that the firm continues to have good relationships with Logos members, particularly with German firm Hoffman Liebs Fritsch Ruhe, which is based in Düsseldorf.
"The structure that we've put in place doesn't rule out merger. It's a close link that may get stronger" Julian Tonks, Pinsent Curtis Biddle
Although he said there are no present plans to expand the firm's alliance, he did not deny that the alliance with Granrut came about with a view to a merger. "The structure that we've put in place doesn't rule out merger," he said. "It's a close link that may get stronger." Granrut senior partner Bernard du Granrut is keen to expand the alliance quickly. "Obviously, we want to go on and have an integrated network," he said. "Germany, Spain and Italy are main markets, and we have to look at them seriously in the next months." He also said that the six partners are leaving because they are unhappy with the alliance. But de Granrut remains unconcerned by the departures because, he said, it means that when the alliance comes together on 1 January, the firm will be a purely enthusiastic group. The two firms will set up an alliance board with three partners from each firm, which will pilot the project. Granrut's focus is on banking, insurance and media and its clients are mainly mid-sized companies in the domestic market. It is, though, actively looking to increase the number of UK-listed and foreign-controlled clients that it acts for.