This year has seen lots of action on the transatlantic merger front — e.g., Hogan Lovells, SNR Denton, and Squire Sanders Hammonds. But it looks like Proskauer Berwin — or Berwin Proskauer, or SJ Proskauer? — will not be coming to pass.
So what led to the demise of the Proskauer / SJ Berwin merger talks?
The firms’ joint statement seems to chalk it up to timing:
At this stage in our discussions we recognised that the timetable necessary to reach the agreements that would ensure the successful integration of our firms is not workable at this time. Accordingly, and with considerable regret, we have mutually determined to halt our talks. We look forward to continued cooperation between our firms for the benefit of our clients.
SJ Berwin’s management had come under increasing pressure from its partnership in recent months due to the continued delay in completing the deal, Legal Week reported separately on Thursday. A number of senior partners had left the London office during the negotiations, including real estate chief Jon Vivian and arbitration co-head David Goldberg.
Another significant issue was disparities in profitability, as noted by the ABA Journal:
SJ Berwin’s new managing partner Rob Day told The Lawyer that one of the issues hampering talks was “the mismatch between profitability”…. Profits per equity partner were $1.37 million at Proskauer Rose, compared to 447,000 pounds — about $720,000 — at SJ Berwin, Legal Week says.
Breaking: SJ Berwin and Proskauer Rose call off merger talks [Legal Week]
Proskauer, SJ Berwin Call Off Merger Talks [Am Law Daily]
SJ Berwin and Proskauer Rose: the talks are over [The Lawyer via ABA Journal]
Proskauer, SJ Berwin Will Not Wed, But Still Really Like Each Other [WSJ Law Blog]