After months of market gossip, Asia-Pacific powerhouse King & Wood Mallesons and SJ Berwin have finally completed their merger talks. Earlier this morning (31 July) the two confirmed a November merger after the deal won the backing from partners.
The enlarged Swiss Verein, which consists of four partnerships – Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong and legacy SJ Berwin in the UK and Europe – will go live on 1 November. For a transitional period, the firm will be known as King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin in Europe, the Middle East and the UK, before dropping the SJ Berwin part permanently.
It’s not the first Australasian deal for a UK-headquartered firm – Norton Rose, Ashurst and Herbert Smith got there some time ago – but it’s notable for the simple fact that it’s the first ever merger of a UK firm with a major Chinese practice. That’s why the union has received wide support, at least for now, from King & Wood Mallesons’ Chinese competitors.
To find out more about why SJ Berwin chose to merge with a Chinese firm click here, and for more stories behind the 2012 merger between China’s King & Wood and Australia’s Mallesons Stephen Jaques click here