03 September 2019

A&O combo off the menu

Too long in the cooking, firm issues formal statement on ending of US merger talks with O'Melveny & Myers despite “compelling synergies.”

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A merger that would have created a global firm of over 3,000 lawyers and £2 billion in combined revenues is off the table. Amidst much speculation, and suggestions the time taken over talks was too protracted, A&O formally announced merger deal with O’Melveny & Myers is no more.

“Compelling synergies”

In a formal statement from Allen & Overy, the firm said they and O’Melveny & Myers “have held discussions about a possible combination and, despite agreeing that there were some compelling synergies between us and that it was sensible to explore a possible deal in some detail, we have mutually decided not to continue these discussions. Both firms have developed a great deal of mutual respect and expect to remain in close contact in the service of our shared clients. As we move ahead, we wish each other continued success.” The statement added, “Building our presence in the U.S. remains the highest priority for Allen & Overy and we will significantly increase our immediate focus on lateral individual and team hires, while remaining open to considering opportunities for larger combinations that may arise in the future.”

“No deal” reasons

The statement came as no small surprise, following a weekend of rumor and several months of market speculation about a possible merger for over a year. Differences in remuneration structures, firm cultures and objections from some A&O corporate partners and management are believed to be factors in the failure to realise complete synergy. A statement from O’Melveny given by a spokesman echoed these reasons, “O’Melveny has concluded that the firm’s best course is to continue executing on its strategic plan, which has led to an unmatched culture, deep client partnerships, and record financial performances.”

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