Linklaters leads drug firms' mega-merger

LINKLATERS' senior partner Charles Allen-Jones is leading a team of partners advising SmithKline Beecham on its intended merger with American Home Products (AHP), one of the leading pharmaceutical groups in the US.

The merger would create a company with sales of more than £16bn and a stock market valuation of £75bn.

But the merger, the largest in history, is still being negotiated and may be derailed by a hostile bid from a third party.

Whatever the result of the talks between SmithKline Beecham chief executive Ian Leschly and AHP chairman John Stafford, there will be plenty for the lawyers to do.

If the merger goes ahead, there are likely to be hefty job losses in the UK.

It is also likely that SmithKline will have to spin off its US clinics and pharmacy operation, SB Healthcare Services, as part of the deal.

General counsel for SmithKline Beecham is Jim Beery. The company is also using Shearman & Sterling in the US, led by Steven Volk.