Taylor Joynson Garrett's (TJG) merger agreement with Wessing has signalled the final end of the Brussels joint venture between Wessing, Liedekerke and Houthoff Buruma
The three firms shared an office in the Belgian capital and shared profits. The profit share arrangement is now over and Wessing is leaving the office to move in with TJG. Houthoff will stay in the building. The Brussels joint venture was originally a four-way arrangement between Wessing, Houthoff, Liedekerke and French firm Siméon & Associés. The joint venture was first shaken last autumn, when Siméon joined Lovells. Houthoff managing partner Michael Wesselinj said: "The joint venture came to an end because of the Siméon move and the Wessing talks with Taylor Joynson Garrett. After that there was no need to keep it going." Wesselinj added that Houthoff will keep up its good relations with Liedekerke and Wessing, but will now work with other German firms. Wessing partner Andreas Meissner said that his firm would continue working with Houthoff after the merger with TJG is completed in September. Ashurst Morris Crisp has benefited greatly from the fallout of the joint venture. It has just taken on Wessing's Brussels competition partner Ute Zinsmeister, four months after recruiting the bulk of Liedekerke's Brussels competition team in March. At Wessing, Zinsmeister worked closely with the Liedekerke team in the shared Brussels office and has decided to join them at Ashursts. Her appointment means that Ashursts now has five partners based in Brussels. Ashursts Brussels managing partner Julian Ellison said that the firm recruited Zinsmeister because of her joint specialisms in German and EU law antitrust work. "We now have two offices in Germany so Ute's experience will be very useful on cross-border work," he said.