Bond Pearce and Maclays ditch merger plans

Bond Pearce and Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens have called off merger talks that would have created a £95m turnover firm.

Chris Smylie
Chris Smylie

The two firms began discussions towards the end of summer last year, but called them off within the past few weeks for commercial reasons, without putting the discussions to a partner vote.

Bond Pearce pulled in £46m in the 2010-11 financial year and had an average profit per equity partner (PEP) of £220,000, while Maclays brought in £47.2m with an average PEP of £220,000. The combined firm would have had around 529 lawyers, including 140 partners.

“The position here is that we have a strategy that involves adding scale,” said Maclays chief executive Chris Smylie, adding that his firm has had discussions with a number of firms in addition to Bond Pearce.

“We looked at the opportunity of combining our business with Bond Pearce’s but for practical reasons decided we wouldn’t pursue things any further at this point.

“We acknowledge that having scale is a good thing to have in the marketplace right now, but our position is that [a merger] needs to be for other reasons than scale for scale’s sake.”

A Bond Pearce spokesperson said: “We’re committed to our strategy of client alignment and growth to support our client’s needs. We’re growing organically along with exploring various options including merger and acquisition in order to support our strategy. We’re not currently in formal discussions with anyone.”