MAB in merger negotiations with Goodman Derrick

Watford-based Matthew Arnold & Baldwin (MAB) is in preliminary merger talks with 20-partner media and entertainment firm Goodman Derrick.

The merger would create a 40-partner firm with a turnover of around £16m, placing it at the lower end of The Lawyer UK 100.

MAB has been actively seeking a deal to give it a London presence for several months. A merger with Goodman Derrick would not only give it a home in the capital, it would also hand it a major client in the shape of ITV Network, for which the London firm has acted since its inception.

Goodman Derrick managing partner Richard Gerstein confirmed that the two firms were in talks, but said that they were still in “the very initial stages”.

Late last year Goodman Derrick expanded with the hire of property partners Simon Mapstone, Simon Catt and Guy Martin, all from boutique Berger Oliver & Co. Paul McAndrews, a Berger Oliver litigation partner, became a consultant.

According to consultant Alan Hodgart, the next 12 months will see a succession of copycat mergers among smaller firms. “Several firms at that end of the market are facing increasing pressure to do a deal as clients look to larger firms for services across the board,” he said.