CMS Cameron McKenna is the ‘mystery third firm’ in the three-way merger with Olswang and Nabarro, The Lawyer has learned.

The combination will create a global firm with total revenues just shy of £1bn.


The combined revenue of the trio is £997m ($1.3bn).

Nabarro partners are understood to be voting on the merger on Friday (30 September).

Olswang and CMS partners have not yet voted on the tie-up, with all parties playing the talks extremely close.

The merger will lend CMS a real estate team and lends significant European weight to Nabarro and Olswang.

There is so far no news on the proposed structure of the firm, which is understood to be “transformational”, or the proposed name.

CMS was one of a group of firms tipped to be joining Olswang and Nabarro in the three-way merger plans.

Dentons, Addleshaw Goddard and Hunton & Williams were also all understood to be in the running.

The combination is expected to create a “unique platform” and be “structurally unusual”, according to sources close to the firm. Speculation is rife the triumvirate is considering its options to abandon its LLP structure in favour of an ABS-style set-up.

Olswang has remained tight-lipped about its merger partners, although news leaked last month the TMT firm was exploring its options for a three-way merger having originally been in the market to be taken over. 

The firm first approached Simmons & Simmons and Bird & Bird abouttraditional merger plans at the start of this year but changed tack when discussions were stonewalled.

Insiders framed the three-way merger as the “best possible result” for Olswang, which has seen two years of upheaval and partner exits.

“It’s a clever move because a takeover by one firm would have been seen as Olswang admitting defeat,” said a source.