LA firm plays down merger talk Shutterstock
O’Melvany & Myers played down Allen & Overy Merger talks over the weekend. On Saturday, the US firm issued a statement that “We have no plans to merge and never have.” O’Melveny, headquartered in Los Angeles, were reacting to a flurry of reports in the legal press late Friday night about merger talks between the Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy and O’Melveny & Myers. The American Lawyer, had broken the news of the talks, reporting it involved a small group of senior figures, including A&O’s senior partner Wim Dejonghe and managing partner Andrew Ballheimer, both proponents of the need for U.S. expansion.
While O’Melveny did not issue an outright denial, in an earlier statement A&O had stated, ’While we have said for several years that we are open to considering a merger with the right partner in the US, we talk to many law firms in many countries all the time and we do not comment on market speculation and rumours regarding any particular firm.’
Such a merger would create a transatlantic giant with 3,000 lawyers and revenues of £2bn, making it the third-largest in the world, between the US firms Kirkland & Ellis ($3.2bn) and Latham & Watkins ($3.1bn), and, global firms Baker McKenzie ($2.7bn) and DLA Piper ($2.6bn). Last year, A&O and O’Melveny reported like levels of profitability, with A&O at £1.51m ($2.1m) profit per equity partner (PEP) and O’Melveny at $2m (£1.4m). O’Melveny has five offices on the US West Coast and large bases in New York and Washington DC, while A&O has US offices in New York and Washington DC.