Kennedys and Simpson & Marwick call off merger

Kennedys and Scottish firm Simpson & Marwick have called off their planned merger, citing “complex reasons”.

The firms issued a joint statement today (11 December), six weeks after postponing the original merger date of 1 November (25 October 2013).

In the statement, the firms said: “Both firms and their partners hold each other in the highest regard and are very disappointed that for complex reasons the merger could not be finalised.

“Clients and their interests are our priority. There are a number of cross border clients that Kennedys and Simpson & Marwick plan to continue working closely with in order to provide a UK wide service.”

A spokesperson said neither firm would elaborate on the reasons behind the end of merger talks.

The two firms announced they had agreed to merge in August (30 August 2013). The tie-up would have created a £160m-plus outfit with over 1,500 staff worldwide.

Kennedys has been looking for a Scottish merger partner for over a year (21 November 2012), although it is understood that regulatory reasons have made the process difficult. Kennedys is a legal disciplinary practice with three non-lawyer partners and the structure is currently prohibited in Scotland.

The merger is the third to be called off in the last three weeks. Dentons and McKenna Long & Aldridge (27 November 2013) and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman (26 November 2013) both cancelled transatlantic merger plans.