a year ago this year

Finers in talks with Stephens Innocent

THE NEWS that Finers was in talks with the media specialist firm came as a surprise to Rakisons, which believed it was in merger talks with Stephens Innocent.

Finers had been helping to broker the deal between the two sides, but it seems that the vicar quite fancied the bride for himself.

Stephens Innocent found itself looking around the market for a merger partner after four of its seven partners quit for other firms. The latest one to go was Louis Charalambous, who went to Essex-based firm E Edwards Son & Noice, and was understood to be taking clients with him including the BBC, Channel 5 and Demon Internet.

One year on, Finers and Stephens Innocent appear to be quite happy together, and Rakisons eventually pulled off a merger coup by marrying with US firm Steptoe & Johnson.

Jones Day merges with Madrid firm

JONES Day Reavis & Pogue was due to announce its merger with niche Spanish firm Tena Muñoz. In doing so it was to become the first US firm to fully merge with a Spanish practice.

Tena Muñoz was a small commercial firm with five partners and one associate specialising in securities work.

One year on and the Spanish market remains as hard to crack as ever. No major Spanish mergers with Anglo-Saxon partners have been announced. Linklaters & Alliance, which had been sniffing around the market, has now decided on a cherry-picking policy rather than a merger.

South African bank buys up leading local law firm

EDWARD Nathan & Friedland turned its back on the possibility of merging with a UK firm by linking up with South African investment bank Necor.

Clifford Chance had preliminary discussions with Edward Nathan and Slaughter and May had a best friends arrangement with it, neither of which could now continue.

The move was believed to be the first sale of a law firm to an investment bank.

One year on and 14-lawyer Johannesburg practice Rabin Van Den Berg & Pelkowitz, which split from Werksmans five years previously, has been bought by investment and merchant bank Brait SA.