Putsmans and Shakespeares merger creates Brum giant

Birmingham firms Putsmans and Shakespeares have signed a merger agreement, creating a new £20m player in the Birmingham mid-market.

The combined firm, which will have more than 50 partners, will be effective from April 2007. The two firms have not yet confirmed what name of the combined entity.

Putsmans chairman Terry Lipscombe said: “The Birmingham mid-market has changed a lot in recent years with many new firms competing in it, and we want to have the size and strength to be able to compete and to offer excellent terms.

“Also, in these days of uncertainty about deregulation, a £20m firm can survive better than two £10m firms.”

Putsmans chief executive Paul Wilson, who joined 12 weeks ago from Olswang, will be the merged firm’s chief executive. But the combined firm’s managing and senior partners have not yet been finalised.

Lipscombe and Shakespeares’ senior partner Michael Hibbs are, however, both likely to retain senior roles.

The combined firm will continue to offer full service to small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as private clients. Its staff will integrate into a single site, presently occupied by Shakespeares.

The tie-up will increase competition in the Birmingham mid-market, which is already a fierce battleground between firms including Bevan Brittan, Clarke Willmott, HBJ Gateley Wareing, Shoosmiths and Martineau Johnson.

The merger is the second for Putsmans in five years, after its tie-up with Wilcox Lane Clutterbuck in October 2001.

The Wilcox merger bolstered Putsmans to a 21-partner firm with a turnover of £10m. However, two of Wilcox’s 11 equity partners, Peter Clarke and managing partner William Colachicci, did not join the new firm.