A&O looks to usurp Linklaters in Singapore joint venture

Allen & Overy (A&O) is holding exploratory conversations with Linklaters’ Singapore joint venture partner as it looks to expand its reach in Asia and Australasia.

David Morley
David Morley

The firm announced to its partnership today that it has held early-stage discussions with Allen & Gledhill with the aim of signing some kind of tie-up with the Singaporean firm. The firms are currently exploring what form that tie-up would take with an eye to local regulations.

Linklaters and Allen & Gledhill have had a joint venture for 10 years. It is understood that Allen & Gledhill has indicated to Linklaters that it is in talks with other firms. Linkaters did not return calls for comment.

In a statement a spokesperson for A&O said: “Allen & Overy has entered into preliminary talks with Allen & Gledhill which may, or may not, lead to proposals for a combination of the two firms, subject to any necessary regulatory approvals in Singapore.

“The strategic intent behind the talks is to establish whether a combination is possible which would enhance the market leading positions of both Allen & Overy and Allen & Gledhill in the Asia Pacific region and enhance Singapore’s position as a regional hub for high value legal services.

“Neither party expects to make any further comment pending finalisation of the discussions.”

A&O previously had a joint venture with Singapore’s Shook Lin & Bok, but broke that off after gaining a licence to practise local law in December 2008 (5 December 2008).

The talks between A&O and Allen & Gledhill have come after the magic circle firm’s senior partner David Morley did a two-month tour of Asia and the Middle East earlier this year (14 July 2011).