Top three Spanish firm turns its back on accountants

Top three Spanish firm Gomez-Acebo & Pombo has firmly rebuffed merger app-roaches by the Big Five accountancy firms.

The Madrid-based firm has been courted by several accountants, including, it is believed, KPMG, which wants to challenge the dominance of Arthur Andersen's 590-lawyer firm Garrigues & Andersen.

But its senior partner, Ignacio Gomez-Acebo, told The Lawyer last week that a merger with an accountancy firm “had never even been contemplated”.

Gomez-Acebo joins Ur'a & Menendez in stating its wish to remain independent.

Like Ur'a, Gomez-Acebo is looking to develop its South American links.

Gomez-Acebo said his firm saw the next two stages of its development through expansion in Latin America and then exploring the idea of a European law firm with an axis running from Germany, through France to Spain.

Ur'a & Menendez and Cuatrecasas, another leading Spanish firm, have already begun building up their Latin American practices with representative offices and alliances.

In May, The Lawyer rep-orted that Cuatrecasas had brought 60-lawyer Brazilian banking and finance firm Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados and 50-lawyer Argentinian business practice Perez Alati Grondona Benites Arntsen & Martinez de Hoz into its international network.