Speechly Bircham is in preliminary merger talks with six-office firm Charles Russell in a move that would propel the combined outfit into the top 25 firms by turnover according to The Lawyer UK200.
If the tie-up goes ahead, the combined firm will consist of about 176 partners and have combined revenues of £125.9m.
Charles Russell has three offices in the UK, in the City, Cheltenham and Guildford, in addition to international offerings in Geneva, Manama and Doha. The merger would add a Middle Eastern contingent to Speechly’s current raft of five offices in London, Paris, Luxembourg, Geneva and Zurich.
A joint statement from Charles Russell and Speechly said: “Both are well-established firms with complementary practice areas in the commercial, real estate and private wealth arenas.”
It continued: “A combination would further strengthen these core practice areas while providing a strong platform for the firms’ shared ambitions for growth in the UK and internationally.”
According to its LLP filings, Speechly Bircham recorded a turnover of £57m in 2012/13, dropping by 1 per cent from £57.6m 2011/12. The firm’s revenue has remained relatively flat since 2009/10, when it hit the £58.4m mark.
Net profit has increased, however, rising by 2.3 per cent globally in 2012/13, from £11.3m to £11.6m. Global profit per equity partner (PEP) fell by 2 per cent from £299,000 to £293,000 during the same period (28 June 2013).
Meanwhile, revenue at Charles Russell inched up by 1 per cent from £68.1m to £68.9m in 2012/13. Net profit rose 8.7 per cent from £12.6m to £13.7m, and its average PEP jumped up 11 per cent from £280,000 to £311,000 – aided by a small drop in the number of equity partners from 45 to 43 (10 January 2014).
The joint statement said: “We are now consulting with our partners and other key stakeholders. No further announcement will be made by either firm until those consultations are complete.”