Walkers and Mourant merger talks collapse

Offshore heavyweights Walkers and Mourant have called off merger talks.

The merger would have created the world’s largest offshore firm. Walkers managing partner Grant Stein said the firms had held a series of meetings this week and agreed that there were synergies between the firms. “However,” he added, “in evaluating what was best for each firm individually, and the combined firm, we came to the conclusion that, at this time, the best decision was for each firm to follow its individual path forward.” Mourant chief executive Stephen Ball added: “We’ll be focusing on our own priorities in 2008 and have decided that this isn’t the perfect fit for the firm right now.”

The Lawyer revealed in October last year how preliminary talks had begun between the two firms at the beginning of 2007, sending shockwaves through the sector.

Last week’s (28 January) best friends agreement between Maples and Calder and Carey Olsen was seen as a response to the threat of the merger.

Some market watchers said the collapse of talks had not been unexpected, particularly as discussions are thought to have stalled without due diligence taking place a year after the discussions had begun.