How demergers Eggar you on to merge

We all know the joke about Beethoven’s death forcing him to switch from composing to decomposing, but now the legal profession seems to have its own version of the trend: from merging to demerging. And then merging again.

Manchester’s Glaisyers Solicitors recently bucked the mid-market and low-end tendency towards tie-ups by splitting into two, evoking some of history’s greatest legal demergers such as Linklaters’ split from German firm Oppenhoff in 2007.

Today’s news, however, shows it goes further. South East player Thomas Eggar – officially registered in the West Sussex city of Chichester – has ended its long search for a London merger by effectively taking over 15-partner City firm Pritchard Englefield, more than doubling the former’s London revenues and bringing the combined £42m business close in turnover terms to the likes of Brodies.

But there’s a backstory to this. Pritchard Englefield was on the same team as Pannone from 1992 and split from the Northern firm in 1995. Had the two stayed together, the Thomas Eggar merger could have created a £90m beast.

Exeter-based Ashfords also went through a similar narrative, bulking up in London by merging with Rochman Landau last year, seven and a half years after separating from Bevan Ashford. The Bevan arm became Bevan Brittan.

It’s all going on in southern England.


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