What makes a merger? That’s the question being asked this week, after U.K. firm Norton Rose announced deals with Canada’s Ogilvy Renault and South African firm Deneys Reitz. The combined business will rank as one of the world’s top 10 firms by headcount when the three-way tie-up takes effect next June, boasting more than 2,500 lawyers in 38 offices worldwide and gross revenue of over $1 billion.

For Norton Rose, the moves represent continued progress in its strategy to target Asia and the global natural resources market. Not everyone is convinced. Detractors have been quick to point out that, as with Norton Rose’s union with Australian giant Deacons, which took effect at the beginning of the year, the firms will not share profits — at least, not initially.

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