We reported earlier that Powell Goldstein is set to be acquired by Bryan Cave. We’ve been told to expect an official announcement from Bryan Cave on Monday.
PoGo has still not directly responded to ATL about the rumors that a number of associates, staff, and partners could be on their way out of the door. But we understand that they have sent around an internal email addressing some concerns in light of the merger information. A tipster tells us that the email offered the following clarifications:
1) Everyone has a job. This is a specific term of the deal.
2) BC wants to expand the Atlanta office. …
3) We have no problems at all with our finances. Credit is strong, bank relationships are strong, etc.
We have not gotten our hands on the merger agreement between PoGo and Bryan Cave. But the “promise” that every job is secured is encouraging. The email does not speak to our previous reporting that PoGo’s banks threatened to pull their credit line if a merger was not reached. But regardless of what could have happened, the firm’s contention that they are in a strong financial position is certainly worth noting.
The Chairman’s conference call after the jump.
If there are “no problems at all with [PoGo's] finances,” then why merge with Bryan Cave?
We understand that the firm chairman is speaking to associates right now. According to the chairman, the conference call is being held in response to this morning’s coverage. (we do appreciate it when our posts have an “information forcing effect.”)
Based on the real time reports we are getting, the chairman is telling associates that Bryan Cave convinced PoGo to break off merger talks with Nixon Peabody. Apparently BC and PoGo together would have ranked 45th on AmLaw’s revenue list. The chairman also claims that the cultures and core values of the firm are nearly identical. In addition, the chairman reports:
PoGo’s Atlanta office will have a lot of opportunity to grow significantly due to this deal.
Sound like a convincing reason to merge? The chairman is also saying that the new firm:
For a period of time we’ll be known in Atlanta as “Bryan Cave Powell Goldstein” to maintain southern name recognition for a while and then eventually phase-out.
According PoGo’s chairman, ATL’s suggestion that layoffs are a possibility is: “absurd,” “wrong,” and “offensive.” We’ll note, again, that PoGo did not choose to make this point when we spoke with them yesterday. Nonetheless, the chairman contends that:
BC’s first draft of term sheet was that every employee of PoGo would stay… we renewed our line of credit in March and that is an almost 100-year relationship with the bank.
In closing, the chairman adds:
The blog could not be further off-base.
But we’d be happy to see that the specific deal term guaranteeing every PoGo employee their job after the merger, especially if it still exists in the final draft of the deal.
Good luck PoGo. As our optimistic tipster put it:
So, while the name is on its way out, the firm isn’t going anywhere because we are a community of actual people. We’ll just have some new stationery, a way cooler website, more partners practicing law instead of “administrating.”
That would be a very good thing.