SJ Berwin, Proskauer abandon merger talks

SJ Berwin and Proskauer Rose have called off their protracted merger talks almost nine months after they began.

Last Friday afternoon (12 November) the firms issued a joint statement announcing the termination of the negotiations.

SJ Berwin managing partner Rob Day admitted that the gap in profits between the firms was one of the reasons the talks came to an end.

“The mismatch […] was one of the issues, but not the only one,” Day said. “It was also the realisation that we still had a long period of time to go to continue ­talking and that this had already been in the public eye for a long time.”

It first emerged that the firms were in discussions in May after Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe pulled out of initial talks with SJ Berwin.

Some SJ Berwin partners have expressed frustration that no details of what a tie-up would mean were presented to them. One said: “I thought there would have been a consultation, but we’re there [with Proskauer] one minute and gone the next.”

Another added: “Most people were probably in favour [of merging] from a business perspective, but no one knew what it would involve.”