Dickinson Dees and Bond Pearce in talks to create £92m firm

North East firm Dickinson Dees and South West firm Bond Pearce are discussing a potential merger which would catapult the combined firm into the UK’s top 40.

The firms confirmed the talks today. The news comes six months after Bond Pearce ended merger discussions with Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens (14 March 2012), citing commercial reasons.

In a statement Dickinson Dees’ managing partner Jonathan Blair said: “Our strategies, cultures, sector capabilities and geographic footprints appear to be sufficiently complementary as to warrant consideration of whether, in a rapidly consolidating market, a merger of our two firms would facilitate the execution of their respective strategies.”

“Both Bond Pearce and Dickinson Dees have clearly articulated strategies. By merging the two firms we could take a major step towards fulfilling our longer term strategic goals, implementing now a client and values driven merger to create a firm in the top 30 in the UK capable of delivering the strength in depth and specialist skills required by our clients, be they large corporates, major organisations or high net worth individuals. It is that opportunity that we now wish to explore,” added Bond Pearce’s managing partner Victor Tettmar.

Both firms recorded turnover of £46m in 2011-12. Dickinson Dees’ revenue hit £46.1m, a slight increase on the previous year (16 May 2012), with average profit per equity partner (PEP) of £235,000. Bond Pearce’s turnover was £46.5m, also with PEP of £235,000.

The combined firm would have 125 partners and more than 450 lawyers.

Bond Pearce has offices in Aberdeen, Bristol, London, Plymouth and Southampton. Dickinson Dees, meanwhile, has two Newcastle offices and one in the Tees Valley, as well as bases in Leeds and London. It closed down its York office in June last year, transferring all staff to Leeds (29 June 2011).

Blair told The Lawyer that while the firms had agreed not to make further comment, the talks had reached the stage where the firms were building a business case and this was “making sense”. He added that the discussions were still in very early stages and due diligence had not yet begun.