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Triple merger: CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang to create global megafirm

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Subject to a partner vote

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CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang are poised to merge, creating a new global megafirm, according to reports this evening.

Partners at all three firms — who are said to be “playing talks extremely close” — are yet to vote on the merger. But with detail thin on the ground The Lawyer (£) is claiming that Nabarro’s partners will convene tomorrow (30 September) to decide whether to give the move the green light.

The newly formed firm — which would offer around 90 training contracts annually, based on current individual totals — would have over 30 offices and a combined revenue of just under £1 billion.

CMS is becoming a merger specialist of sorts. Back in 2008, the firm swallowed up Romanian outfit Hayhurst Robinson. Then, in 2014, it merged with Edinburgh-headquartered law firm Dundas & Wilson. Since then, the firm has performed respectably, posting an increase in turnover this year of 8.4% to £735.2 million and a rise in profits by 6.8%.

Nabarro has also been doing well financially, with revenues up again this year after a stonking 2015 which saw profit per equity partner soar 21%. Olswang, on the other hand, has been having a tough time of late — revenue at the firm was down 11% this year.

Anyway… more importantly, what should this potential new giant be called? Answers in the comments please.

UPDATE: 12:57pm – Friday 30 September

CMS, Nabarro and Olswang have issued the following joint statement:

We can confirm that the leadership of CMS, Nabarro and Olswang are in discussions about a potential combination. The leadership consider this combination would create a differentiated, modern firm that would combine scale with an exceptional depth of sector expertise. The combined firm would provide clients with a stronger and more global platform served by 65 offices across 36 countries, underpinned by a 250 year City heritage. There should be no assumption as to the outcome of these discussions and we will update in due course.

83 Comments

Rhymin Robbin

Boa Glans Narrow

(5)(0)

Anonymous

CMS Olswang Nabarro ‘CON’

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Wang & Co

(25)(0)

Shirley

McWango.

I’ll get my coat.

(40)(0)

Anonymous

I hope Nabarro and Olswang stocked up on lubricant for this “three way” with CMS.

(28)(1)

Dr Dong

CMS better wrap up before he sticks it in – who knows what foul stuff lurks inside those two firms.

(15)(2)

Anonymous

I imagine Oslwang and Nabarro solely receiving it from CMS.

(6)(1)

Anonymous

I wouldnt be so sure…it’s a numbers game, and Nabarro is by far the most profitable of the three in terms of PEP

(7)(2)

Skadden equity partner

‘Nabarro’ and ‘profitable’ in one sentence.

That’s cute.

(11)(15)

Anonymous

CMS Nabarron Olskenna

(11)(1)

Anonymous

Any ideas what this would mean for future trainees? Have a TC secured at Nabarro for next year, would/could my place be affected?

(18)(9)

Anonymous

I know that with the Dundas and Wilson merger, CMS promised to keep D&W’s trainees and offer them NQ positions.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Presumably CMS kept on all its trainees also?

(0)(2)

Anonymous

As far as I know, D&W trainees were given preference for NQ positions. This reduced the number of NQ positions for the original CMS trainees.

(4)(4)

Anonymous

Not true unfortunately – 10 out of 13 D&W trainees in London had their training contracts deferred for a year shortly before the merger was announced (obviously in anticipation of a merger taking place) and many decided to go elsewhere at that stage. CMS didn’t do anything equivalent.

As for NQ jobs, there certainly wasn’t any preference for D&W trainees. In London, the majority of those qualifying in September after the formal merger in May 2014 did not get offered positions and left the firm.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Why would there be D&W (SCOTTISH) trainees in London?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Law is the same for various specialities: corporate and employment for example.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

D&W had a trainee cohort in London as well as Glasgow/Edinburgh. Normally around 13/14 trainees each year.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Yep, you’ll be promptly sent a letter explaining that your TC is immediately cancelled due to Brexit and merger pains and a partner wanting to buy a new Porsche Macan.

Better start writing up those TC apps son.

(23)(21)

Anonymous

Your TC is fine. But you will now be working under CMS. Nabarro won’t exist after tomorrow.

(2)(4)

Jones Day 3PQE

Heh, as if that shytepit ever mattered.

This merger is the best thing that happened in the history of Nabarro.

(8)(6)

Anonymous

Nah. It can’t get any shitter mate, so I wouldn’t worry.

(3)(4)

Anonymous

I work at Nabs. First I’ve heard of a merger!

(10)(3)

Anonymous

Typical bastard partners keeping all the important info under wraps from the grunts.

They all knew the moment the news of this merger was out, their retention rates for incoming NQs would sink like a lead balloon.

(9)(2)

Anonymous

I’d doubt it. Have you re-read the terms of your offer?

(1)(1)

Anonymous

I have, completely silent on anything like this. Says my TC offer is subject to passing LPC/GDL first time, satisfactory references etc.

(1)(0)

Jones Day trainee

My TC contract said I mustn’t have any veneral diseases, and have at least double-D cup size and a mandatory Brazilian before I start.

(30)(0)

Anonymous

As a former JD trainee of many years ago I can confirm this hiring policy…! Ha!

(5)(0)

Anonymous

This is top banter.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Many will have an express term asuring your employment will not be affected by merger or restructuring etc. Some don’t (there’s usually a reason for that).

(0)(3)

Dave

Yeah you’re fu*ked mate

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Wangmans Carbs Rool

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Legal Cheek shouldn’t confuse CMS and CMS Cameron McKenna LLP…

(3)(1)

Anonymous

What’s the difference? Even CMS employees don’t know.

(17)(1)

Pessimizm

Hear hear. A big merger, but not nearly as big as they make it to be.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

Wangron McNarbo

(9)(0)

Anonymous

I hear if you stick three shit things together they become global superstars, cf. the fortunes of the band ‘Busted’, or – more recently yet no less perspicacious an observation – most areas of the pitch for Leicester City.

Top banter.

(7)(11)

Anonymous

Kenna Wang uro Nab?

The first firm to feature a punctuation mark in its name. Progressive indeed.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

A simple acronym: CON

(10)(0)

Anonymous

Not going to happen.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

I’m an incoming trainee with Olswang.

Do you guys reckon this means we’ll all get a proper salary raise? £80k at NQ would be nice.

(2)(2)

Anonymous

Nah, CMS are stingy af. NQ salaries barely rise.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

“£80k NQ” with CMS…I almost choked on my snot from laughing too hard.

(30)(0)

Anonymous

Lol.

(0)(0)

Dr Dong

Bruh you gotta be trippin – those firms are never going above the mid-£60k rate for NQs.

(6)(0)

Tyrion

This new firm will be like Wragge LG. Basically a bootleg version of DLA/Dentons. So a bootleg version of a bootleg version of an international firm. Pay will be the same, work will be the same, only difference is some big name partners may do better.

I really hate this trend of mega firms but I see it is the future as the mid-market consolidates. I love being an English solicitor, and firms like Travers are the ideal place to work, deferring to the elite firms overseas like Cravath in New York and Bredin in Paris when needed. Some of these mega firms have overseas offices that are beyond a joke. They throw a couple of English/Aussie lawyers into some backwater in south east asia and claim to have a full legal service operating from there.

(20)(4)

Anonymous

A shop King & Wood Mallesons comes to mind. That merger sure went well.

(5)(1)

Tyrion

KWM and Dentons competing for the worst merger of this decade. At least SNR were only a decent shop. SJ Berwin was an elite funds/PE shop and now they are part of this global monstrosity. Its like they saw what Bakers/DLA did and thought how can we make this worse.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Hear hear. It’s so sad to see what happened to a very strong City brand. There’s hardly anyone left in that shop that remembers the days of ol’ Stanley Berwin.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

CMS O’Nabwang

(7)(0)

Anonymous

WeBuyAnyFirm.com

Or CMS Cameron McKenna.

One or t’other

(17)(1)

Anonymous

Rumours have it the newly merged firm will be the first UK shop to pay £100k at NQ. Chazza from the mailroom at Nabarro told me so, apparently he found a secret partner memo after he bumped another line of ket.

(18)(2)

Anonymous

Ace bantz mate.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

There is no way on earth this merge is going to take place!

Nabarro have built themselves up to a degree that they don’t need CMS or Olswang.

IF the partners agree and allow Nabarro to be “TAKEN OVER” then they will loose all control going forward!

#dontbegreedyNabarro….CLARITY!

(26)(1)

Anonymous

I totally agree with everything you have said!!

Let’s hope you are correct!

(6)(0)

Anonymous

At least someone is talking sense on here!!

(4)(0)

Anonymous

So true, the only firm that is struggling right now is olswang…….they are that desperate they would do a 3 way with BHS and Woolworths!

(18)(0)

Thumbs down

I’m a trainee at Nabarro and I it really is a great place to work…I can only hope this merger doesn’t happen.

However, the attention this story has received makes me think there’s something in it…

(11)(0)

Anonymous

It’s got to be Camarro McWang

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Your Nabarro numbers are a year out of date – Turnover up 3.5% to £130.4m for 2015-16. PEP up 1.7% to £586k.

(1)(0)

Slaughter and Gay equity partnah

That’s what I make in a fortnight. On Grindr.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

Suggested new name: “CMS NO LLP”, “NO CMS LLP”, “NOC LLP”, and ” CMS Cameron Mckenna LLP Nabbarro Oslwang LLP”

(1)(2)

here's a name

Cameron’s Wang?

I mean Nabarra will become an even bigger irrelevance if this goes ahead

(2)(4)

CNBC

Given the level of reporting in the press, how likely is it that this actually goes ahead? Will the partners at all firms have been smoothed over in advance?

(1)(0)

Inside info

It’s getting a big grandiose front page opening in The Lawyer tomorrow. CMS’ offices are already stocked up on the Dom magnums, the partners have their finest Cubans ready, ain’t no turning back.

(2)(0)

NabarHo

This would explain the ‘business services hiring freeze’ Nabarro have unofficially put in place over the last couple of months. brexit brexit uncertainty they remarked…hr & bd teams numbers have dwindled…guess you don’t need three of those!

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Also not much qualified recruitment going on either.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Wangy McWangface

(6)(0)

Trumpbum

So a troika firm, the usual mass redundancies* post merger in order to create a(nother) powerhouse.

One merged, why not merge again with some firm like Eversheds. Because then it would be an even bigger factory.

*Irwin Mitchell are recruiting

(2)(1)

Anonymous

What does Proudman think?

(2)(0)

Anonymous

So it’s official, the partners voted and the merger will go ahead.

Farewell Olswang and Nabarro, you’ve been good.

(0)(3)

Mark Devereux

The merger is still subject to a vote.

(5)(2)

OlsCMSMan

Oh yeah.

(1)(0)

Anon

“Still subject to a vote”?? If the rumours in the press are true of partners being forced into a lock-in or be out of a job, that’s not much of a vote, is it? It’s being given no alternative. Using any means to get the result only the minority want. How ruthless. A distinctive firm about to be swallowed up. Obscurity. Oblivion. People will no longer be individuals with names – they will become numbers. No doubt hard-working loyal people will be tossed on the redundancy scrap heap because their roles are duplicated. Presumably just because a few already wealthy partners want more money in the bank/a new car/another holiday home. Shameful. Be warned: these “mergers” (for which read “takeover”) never work. It will be a bloodbath. I predict those who take the firm into this merger will be forced out themselves within 18 months. Poetic justice.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

CMS NabSwang can fook right off

(0)(0)

Anonymous

This one is a bit of a puzzle given the CMS UK vs CMS (in its entirety) situation. The majority of the non-UK Nabwang offices being acquired are in CMS non-UK cities. No idea how big these offices are, but assume at least some are more than outposts.

If it happens, CMS UK to acquire CMS UK compatible elements of Nabwang, CMS-wide firms to acquire Nabwang international elements as a strongly pushed option. If successful, a step closer to the CMS one firm move (following quasi CMS wide acquisition).

(4)(0)

Morpheus

Damn son, that just blew my mind.

(0)(0)

Simon Olswang

🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕

(5)(0)

Simon Olswang

Bullshit

(2)(0)

Ganja bro

Drugs are bad, m’kay?

(0)(4)

Anonymous

Lemon haze

(1)(0)

Anon recruiter

Abnormal, crass gown?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Nabbed Cameron’s Old Wang International

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.