Heller Ehrman, Law Firm Mergers, WolfBlock

Law Firm Merger Mania: Ardor Cools

law firm merger.jpgIn the immortal words of Roxette, “It must have been love; but it’s over now.” Last month, we marveled at all the law firm merger rumors making the rounds. These days, however, merger talks are falling apart, left and right.
As we first reported, the contemplated merger between Heller Ehrman and Baker & McKenzie is officially dead. For the skinny on their breakup, see Legal Pad. Apparently client conflicts were the deal breaker (as they so often are; they’re the law-firm equivalent of serious religious differences, or really bad STDs). Baker & McKenzie will have to settle for being a firm with a measly $2.2 billion in annual global revenue.
And now this, from the National Law Journal:

In the days that followed the joint announcement by Wolf Block and Akerman Senterfitt that their merger talks hit a snag over a conflict, sources have pointed to deeper issues affecting the drawn-out discussions…

One source aware of the merger discussions said the combination would be a good thing for both firms but said Wolf Block leadership is unwilling to work out certain tax and pension concerns.

There is concern among some of Wolf Block’s partnership over having to pay a significant amount in taxes upon merging with a corporation, the source said. There is also concern over having to make up for Wolf Block’s unfunded pension liabilities. Both of the issues could cause partners to “take a real financial hit,” the source said, adding that a loan could solve those problems, but firm leadership seems unwilling to go that route.

We’d end with the requisite punchy quip, but unfunded pension liabilities leave us uninspired.
(It’s a Friday, in August, after 3 PM. Why are you still here?)
Trouble with WolfBlock-Akerman merger talks over more than conflicts [National Law Journal]
Conflicts Blamed for Failed Heller Merger Talks [Legal Pad]
Bakers breaks £1bn mark with 20% revenue boost [Legal Week via ABA Journal]
Earlier: Heller Ehrman Is NOT Merging With Baker & McKenzie
Law Firm Merger Mania: Collected Rumors and News

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