Blue chip three-way Italian merger unveiled to create €120m law firm

Gattai Minoli Partners and Pedersoli Studio to merge and take on 16-strong BonelliErede M&A team

(l-r) Carlo Pedersoli, Bruno Gattai and Carlo Montagna Image courtesy of Gattai Minoli Partners and Pedersoli Studio Legale

Gattai Minoli Partners and Pedersoli Studio Legale have agreed to merge, in a landmark deal for the Italian legal market that will create a law firm with revenue among the highest in the country.  

A team of 16 corporate M&A lawyers from leading Italian firm BonelliErede will also join to create the new firm, which officially launches 1 January 2024 and will be known as PedersoliGattai.

The firm will house around 350 professionals including 64 partners across offices in Milan, Rome and Turin and have revenue in the region of €120m, a figure that puts it in the top 10 among Italian law firms.  

The new firm will be led by chairman Carlo Pedersoli and managing partner Bruno Gattai, with Stefano Cacchi Pessani and Carlo Re - currently partners at BonelliErede and Perdersoli respectively - set to serve as deputy managing partners. 

“We are proud to have managed to bring together two of the most important so-called super boutiques in the country, together with a group of excellent professionals,” Gattai said. “It is an extraordinary transaction in the Italian legal market which immediately places us at the top, with the size and resources to invest in technology, in our young talent and in those we will be able to attract.”

In an interview with Italian publication Legal Community, Gattai said the move was “anything but defensive” and was driven by the need for critical mass in order to take full advantage of emerging opportunities. 

The tie-up brings together two firms that are essentially equal in terms of revenue and size, with Gattai Minoli housing 180 professionals and reporting turnover of €56.9m in 2022, up 19% on the year before, and Pedersoli’s roughly 160 professionals bringing in turnover of €52.5m - an increase of 1.7% on 2021. 

The new firm will have a full-service offering but will focus on litigation and M&A, the latter of which brings in more than half of revenue at both Gattai Minoli and Pedersoli. Its M&A offering will be further bolstered by the 16-strong team from BonelliErede, which is led by Carlo Montagna and along with Cacchi Pessani includes partner Enrico Vaccaro. Elisabetta Bellini and Alessandro Capogrosso, currently a senior counsel and managing associate at BonelliErede, will also join the new firm as partners. 

The merger came about following talks last year that reached a stalemate but were reignited after Gattai - credited as the driver of the deal - returned to Pedersoli with Montagna and his team on board. 

The partners emphasised in the Legal Community report that potential conflicts were minimised by the firms’ diverse clientele, with Gattai Minoli for example focused on funds clients and Pedersoli more on banks. Montagna similarly noted that there had been “very few situations where we risked working for the same clients”.  

For his part Milan-based Gattai was Italy managing partner at Simmons & Simmons and Dewey & LeBoeuf before founding Gattai Minoli in 2012 following Dewey’s collapse. Known as a rainmaker corporate and M&A partner, his practice focuses on private equity and capital market transactions.

Meantime Pedersoli has worked for more than 40 years at the firm that bears his name, which was founded in 1958, and is ranked band 1 by Chambers for his corporate practice. He advises Italian financial institutions, private equity funds and industrial groups on M&A and company restructurings as well as on corporate governance issues.

Bonelli’s chairman, Stefano Simontacchi, and managing partner, Andrea Carta Mantiglia, said in a joint statement: "We have recently launched an ambitious five-year strategic plan which has been approved by all the remaining partners and which is built around international growth, innovation and investment in young talent. 

“While we are of course grateful to everyone that makes a contribution to BonelliErede, it is important that everybody buys into our strategy. Against this background, we appreciate that the interest of some lawyers would be best served in another firm and we wish those individuals who are leaving every success in the future."

BonelliErede had its own “super boutique” merger back in 2019 when it absorbed 70-strong litigation and corporate outfit Lombardi e Associati - a move that created Italy’s largest independent law firm, with 750 professionals and revenue of upwards of €190m. 

Last month, an 18-strong tax team including three partners quit BonelliErede for Legance

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