2Birds set for Danish merger as management plans aggressive overseas strategy

Bird & Bird will cement its presence in Denmark in the new year by merging with its best friend in the country, Bender von Haller Dragsted (BvHD).

The Danish boutique IT/IP firm, which has 15 lawyers, will be acquired by Bird & Bird in January 2013 in the same way the firm merged with Finnish firm Fennica Attorneys in 2008 (12 March 2008).

The firms signed a strategic cooperation agreement, expanding Bird & Bird’s northern European network, at the start of the year (26 January 2012).

A source told The Lawyer that the move is the start of a more aggressive international strategy from the firm as it looks to respond to firms such as DLA Piper’s increasing presence in its sectors.

They said: “DLA Piper was aggressive, but its quality was not there. Since Tony Angel was brought in, it’s taking serious steps. Bird & Bird’s quality is consistent across its offices, but is lacking a global approach.

“The firm’s ambitious and is looking at creating better alliances, as Linklaters did.

“It’s in a difficult position; a lot of players in its space are merging and bidding against it.”

The firm said no official announcement was being made, but that the association was working “extremely well” and that it was no secret both firms were keen on merging.

Meanwhile, the firm is looking into creating a subsidiary enterprise in its brand management practice, The Lawyer understands.

Bird & Bird wants to establish itself as the global leader in IP and is examining how it can set up an entity with a lower cost base to carry out the day-to-day support work and business services for clients, while keeping the premium work such as patent litigation within the LLP.

Consultations are ongoing over the legal structure of this subsidiary.

The source said: “We have to see how this is going to provide services in foreign jurisdictions. The idea of this new subsidiary is to create the strongest global player in brand management, on the back of a strong IP practice.”

The firm has recently recruited Lorraine Tay from Baker & Mackenzie in Singapore (23 March 2012) and Allan Poulter from Field Fisher Waterhouse in London and said it expects to announce further recruitment in brand management. But it said it had no announcements to make on its organisational structure.

A spokesman said: “As a firm that’s well known for its innovative approach, we’re not ruling anything out. Our focus is on how we deliver even better service to clients.”