DLA Piper eyes exclusive link with Portugal’s ABBC

DLA Piper is in talks about entering an exclusive tie-up arrangement with Portuguese firm Azevedo Neves Benjamim Mendes Carvalho & Associados Sociedade de Advogados (ABBC).

DLA Piper has been looking for a new partner in ­Portugal since announcing in September that it would end its six-year, non-exclusive arrangement with Miranda Correia Amendoeira & Associados (MCA) at the end of November.

It is understood that DLA Piper’s tie-up with MCA was not thought profitable enough for either party. It is believed that DLA Piper proposed formal integration but that MCA refused.

DLA Piper is now be­lieved to be in advanced talks with ABBC and keen to forge a stronger link in Portugal, meaning the Lisbon-based firm would be integrated into the DLA Piper network and the two firms would share IT and accounting processes.

A spokesperson for DLA Piper said that as yet nothing had been finalised, adding that the firm was also holding exploratory talks with a number of other Portuguese players.

As well as a presence in Portugal’s domestic market, it is understood that DLA Piper, which already has an African network, is keen to gain a foothold in Portuguese-speaking Africa.
MCA has a network spanning lusophone Africa and ABBC is keen to build ties with firms in the region.

Linklaters is the only other UK firm to have a presence in Portugal, opening an office in Lisbon in 2002. Simmons & Simmons retreated from the country in 2009.

For more on lusophone Africa, see Special Report.