Mills & Reeve and Manchester firm George Davies are to vote on a potential merger within the next few weeks after both firms confirmed that they were in talks .
The Lawyer revealed in February that the firms were exploring a merger (8 February 2013), and now both are planning to present the business case for a deal to partners at the end of the month. Insiders suggest that a vote on the combination will take place on 30 April.
“Discussions are ongoing with the senior management team at George Davies,” said Mills & Reeve managing partner Guy Hinchley in a statement. “We’ve been working through the usual due diligence process and are finalising the business case to present to partners with a vote taking place later this month.”
The prospect of a combination has won support in the market, with Douglas Scott managing director of legal recruitment Kath Riley saying a tie-up between the two firms would be a good move.
“Mills and Reeve acquired their office in Manchester in January 2011, then in the financial year to 30 April 2012 George Davies posted a 16 per cent income rise,” she said. “Competing against each other in a number of sectors and for the same talent this could be seen as a classic ‘if you can’t beat them then join them’. Not just another example of mid market consolidation, it has the potential to work on so many levels.”
Towards the end of 2012, Mills & Reeve launched a Leeds real estate practice after hiring a partner from DAC Beachcroft (22 October 2012). In August 2012 the firm set up a paralegal support centre in Norwich in a bid to boost profits (1 August 2012). Turnover at the 95-partner firm in 2011/12 was £69.4m, while average profit per equity partner was £326,000. Mills & Reeve has six offices across the UK, including one each in London and Manchester.
George Davies’ turnover in 2011/12 was £7.3m. The firm is full service and has one of the largest private client practices in the North West.