Finers and Howard Kennedy draw up new merger timetable

The delayed merger between London firms Finers Stephens Innocent (FSI) and Howard Kennedy will now go live on 1 February.

Mark Dembovsky
Mark Dembovsky

Delays in the process have seen the original ambitious date of 1 November pass without any official announcement.

FSI managing partner Paul Millett said the members’ agreement has been finalised this week and is being sent out for consultation among all partners. He added that he does not expect any issues as the two firms look to align their businesses.

Staff have been told that the firms are aiming for the start of February 2013 to complete the £45m tie-up.

Millett said: “There remains a huge amount to do, but I’ve just made presentations to staff to say that this is the date we’re aiming for.”

Howard Kennedy CEO Mark Dembovsky has told The Lawyer that there will be no large scale reduction of fee-earners and that delays to the merger process have come from issues with “back office alignment”, rather than people (5 November 2012).

The two firms entered into talks in February this year. Should the deal complete within 12 months, the enlarged firm would have approximately 88 partners and 125 fee-earners.

Management of the two firms and those close to the merger have moved to quash concerns that an “uneasiness” among some members of both firms was behind the hold-up.

As part of the merger of the West End outfits into Howard Kennedy FSI, the firms’ cost bases will be looked at, but Dembovsky has been keen to stress that there is “no sense of a need to move people on”.

Millett added: “We’re not doing this to make redundancies.”