Long-running merger talks between Allen & Overy (A&O) and US outfit O’Melveny & Myers have ended without a deal being reached, it was confirmed this afternoon.
The magic circle outfit said that while there were some “compelling synergies” between it and its Los Angeles-headquartered counterpart, it had “mutually decided not to continue these discussions”. The statement, released within the past hour, said:
“Both firms have developed a great deal of mutual respect and expect to remain in close contact in the service of our shared clients. As we move ahead, we wish each other continued success.”
Despite today’s setback, A&O stressed that building its presence in the US “remains the highest priority” through an “immediate focus on lateral individual and team hires”. The firm also said it remains “open to considering opportunities for larger combinations that may arise in the future”.
Rumours of a potential tie-up between the two giants have been swirling for almost a year now, with reports last summer claiming that O’Melveny’s top brass had flown into London to meet senior lawyers at A&O. Fast forward several months and the firms are said to have met again, this time in a plush five-star hotel in Frankfurt.
Legal Cheek also revealed earlier this year that O’Melveny had temporarily suspended its UK vacation scheme and 2021 training contract application processes while the discussions took place.
If discussions had been successful, it would have created a new transatlantic legal player with over 3,000 lawyers and combined revenues of around £2 billion ($2.8 billion).