A&O is occasionally tempted by the thought of a market-busting merger. It approached Freshfields back in 2006, as exclusively revealed in The Lawyer (see story).
Senior partner David Morley is moving to New York next week for three months (see story). This is being taken in New York as proof that a deal is in the offing.
A&O has nicked a whole load of Shearman’s Germans – though by rights this ought to rule out a deal with the rest of the firm.
Shearman needs help. (Actually, this is incontrovertible.)
After the jump, could this actually happen?
This would be a mega-deal. Let me translate the rumor into American English so everybody can play along:
A&O gotta eat and Shearman needs to get the paper. OG D-More already ganked the Heinekens and now he’s coming for the whole store. Holla back.
We previously reported that Allen & Overy is a revenue monster. They ranked 6th on the recently released Global 100 firms in terms of revenue. Shearman & Sterling ranked 25th on the same list, but that was down from their 2007 ranking.
Many tipsters think that A&O is in a very secure position. One tipster reports:
[W]e posted over $2 billion in revenue, had more profit coming from non-London offices than ever in the past, and continued to make ground on global elite competitors with 17% growth in profits out of New York this past year.
Meanwhile, Shearman is generally thought to be facing strong headwinds. They dropped precipitously in the Vault rankings this year, down to 19th. But they are still a major player. They represented Merrill Lynch in the recent BoA / Merrill merger.
A huge deal like this might make up for all the merger rumors that have failed to pan out.
A&O, Shearman to merge? [The Lawyer]