Linklaters chief opens door for full merger with Allens

by George Walmsley19 May 2014
Linklaters’ Asia regional partner Marc Harvey has announced that the firm is open to the possibility of a full financial merger with top-tier Australian firm Allens.

The Magic Circle firm entered into an alliance with Allens in 2012, and the two have operated joint ventures in Asia since then, but until now they have remained financially independent.

While Harvey expressed optimism for future integration, he cautioned that a full merger is unlikely. “We are really pleased with how the alliance is going. An option in the future would be some kind of financial tie up. It’s not something we are actively discussing at the moment but it would be a great thing to achieve,” he said.

The firms currently devote their shared resources and assets to serve clients in such fields as energy, infrastructure, and banking.
In 1998, Linklaters & Paines formed ‘Linklaters & Alliance’ with four leading European law firms and by 2002 it had merged with De Bandt, van Hecke, Lagae & Loesch (Belgium and Luxembourg), Lagerlöf & Leman (Sweden) and Oppenhoff & Rädler (Germany), with the firm rebranding to Linklaters.

Since then, new office locations have includedBeijing (2002), Lisbon (2002), Dubai (2006), Düsseldorf (2007) and Abu Dhabi (2011).

This is the merger story of the former Big Six so far:

Blake Dawson - Ashurst
March 2012, Blakes started trading as Ashurst Australia
November 2013, full financial merger, 6mths ahead of schedule
New name: Ashurst
Mallesons Stephen Jaques – King & Wood
2011, Australian and UK practices reorganised using Swiss Verein structure in assciation with Chinese ‘red circle’ firm King & Wood
2013, further merged with London-headquartered Silver Circle law firm SJ Berwin 
New name: King &Wood Mallesons

Oct 2012, full financial merger with London-headquartered Silver Circle law firm Herbert Smith
New name: Herbert Smith Freehills
Allens Arthur Robinson 
May 2012, changed its name to Allens and entered association with Linklaters
Operates JVs with Linklaters in Indonesia
No merger yet
Clayton Utz
remains solely Australian
Minter Ellison
remains Australian; has NZ partner firm