Herbert Smith reviews future of European alliance after failed merger bid

Herbert Smith has admitted it is considering what will happen next with its European alliance after German firm Gleiss Lutz and Benelux firm Stibbe rejected a merger proposal.

Plans for a merger between Herbert Smith and its European alliance partners Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe fell on deaf ears, with partners at both European firms voting against a potential tie-up last weekend (19-20 November).

A deal with the two independents has been on the UK firm’s agenda for several years but has continually been turned down (10 December 2007).

It became part of Herbies’ ‘Project Blue Sky’ strategy earlier in the autumn (19 September 2011).

A spokesperson for the City firm said in a statement: “Following our strategic review, Herbert Smith is committed to developing an integrated platform across our network and the markets in which we operate. As a result, we’re considering a number of options across a range of territories.

“In this context we recently proposed to alliance partners Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe that the three firms enter into merger discussions. Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe have just confirmed they do not wish to pursue this. We will be considering the implications of their decisions and will let you know of any further developments regarding the alliance. In the meantime it is very much ’business as usual’, with the alliance firms continuing to focus on the needs of clients who we jointly advise.”

Gleiss managing partner Rainer Loges told German legal magazine Juve: “We still value the collaboration with Herbert Smith. But up until now we have been very successful as an independent firm and will continue to be so. That’s how we can best preserve the values and ways of functioning that our clients and staff at Gleiss Lutz value so much.”