Shearman & Sterling and Hogan Lovells abandon merger talks

Wall Avenue regulation agency Shearman & Sterling and rival Hogan Lovells have ended merger talks that may have created a authorized powerhouse, saying {that a} deal was not of their pursuits.

Shearman, a 150-year-old agency that was as soon as one in all Wall Avenue’s strongest advisers, boasting shoppers from Citibank to Henry Ford, had been in talks with bigger competitor Hogan Lovells for months.

David Beveridge, Shearman’s senior companion, and Hogan Lovells chief govt Miguel Zaldivar have been main negotiations on a deal that may have equipped Shearman the size to be a genuinely world participant. For Hogan Lovells, Sherman would have given it a stronger model in New York.

Nonetheless, in a press release late on Thursday, the companies stated that “after cautious consideration, we now have mutually agreed {that a} mixture presently just isn’t in the most effective curiosity of both agency”.

A number of present and former Shearman companions advised the Monetary Instances {that a} tie-up would have helped the agency tackle a number of challenges, together with dropping companions to deep-pocketed rivals and a world community that had introduced greater prices however inadequate scale.

On Friday, hours after the companies introduced the tip of merger talks, a 20-strong crew of attorneys left Shearman’s Munich workplace to hitch rival Morgan Lewis & Bockius. Earlier within the week, it emerged the agency was dropping star finance companions Korey Fevzi and Philip Stopford who’re becoming a member of Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

Shearman’s fairness companions took dwelling a median of $3mn in 2021, far wanting the $7mn paid out by rivals together with Davis Polk & Wardwell and Kirkland & Ellis.

Beneath Beveridge, Shearman has launched into a troublesome restructuring geared toward focusing the agency on extra worthwhile areas, such because the US, and sectors together with non-public fairness. Final month, the agency, which has about 700 attorneys, lower 38 workers within the US, citing “persevering with and rising financial headwinds”.

A merger with Hogan Lovells would have created a behemoth of about 3,500 attorneys internationally. However regulation agency mergers are notoriously troublesome to realize, not least due to the difficulties of knitting collectively differing compensation methods and holding key workers loyal.

In 2019, talks between London-based “magic circle” regulation agency Allen & Overy and Los Angeles group O’Melveny & Myers collapsed after the 2 sides didn’t agree on a valuation for the mixed enterprise.

Tony Williams, principal at Jomati Consultants and former managing companion of Clifford Probability, which merged with a US agency in 2000, stated: “Giant mergers between regulation companies are very troublesome to realize in what’s a folks enterprise . . . Legal professionals typically over-emphasise the advantages of the established order and are resistant to alter so any alternative must be exceptionally compelling to realize traction.”


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