Ashurst seeks an American friend

You would expect that Ashurst did a fair bit of due diligence before agreeing its merger with Australian firm Blake Dawson, even if senior management was understood to have been rather jittery about the deal right up until it was finalised.

Our verdict: Ashurst did some impressive background checks.

This is why. If speculation that Ashurst has its eye on a US merger next is right, the Blakes tie-up appears to be a good step for putting the background work in place.

Blakes has a particlarly impressive footprint on US deals, with the Australian firm advising on more M&A deals in the US than the whole of Asia since 2006 (we define US deals as acquisitions of American targets). Data provided by Thomson Reuters for The Lawyer’s new Number Crunching page illustrates this perfectly (see story).

What’s more, the vast of majority of these mandates were not from Australian clients, implying that if Ashurst is acquiring any non-Australian relationships at all, it’s with US companies.

And this is all with only one conflict: Ashurst and Blakes worked opposite each other when Spanish construction company ACS raised its stake in Germany’s Hochtief in 2010.

A very good match indeed.