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CMS Cameron McKenna eyes up Olswang in latest City merger gossip

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Corporate heavyweight sets its sights on media boutique

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CMS Cameron McKenna (CMS) is eyeing up fellow City outfit Olswang if the latest City merger gossip is to be believed.

Corporate giant CMS is by far the larger of the two firms. With almost 60 offices across more than 30 countries, the firm is part of the CMS grouping of European law firms. In comparison, media boutique Olswang has just seven offices across six countries.

With rumours finally reaching the legal press, The Lawyer (£) reports this morning that the two law firms entered into discussions at the start of the year. Citing “sources close to both firms,” the website claims that talks had “gained momentum” over the summer.

If the City gossip is true, the newly formed firm (name jokes in the comments section please) will have a turnover of almost £900 million, well over 3,000 lawyers on its books, and will offer more than 60 training contracts.

Due to the size difference between the two firms, the move — if given the green light — would technically be a takeover.

But it would appear that Olswang itself has been eyeing up a number of candidates in the City, including the Birds. According to the report, the media boutique has “approached” fellow City players Simmons & Simmons, Osborne Clarke and Bird & Bird.

CMS certainly isn’t new to the merger game. Back in 2008, CMS scooped up Romanian outfit Hayhurst Robinson, strengthening its footing with the European market. Six years later, in 2014, the corporate giant put pen to paper on a deal that saw it merge with Edinburgh-headquartered law firm Dundas & Wilson.