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Reed Smith chairman Gregory B. Jordan dismissed media reports today that questioned whether an affiliate of its potential merger partner, London-based Richards Butler, was against the merger. Richards Butler U.K., which also includes its offices in the Middle East and Europe, has an affiliation with Richards Butler Hong Kong. Jordan said the two split in the 1990s because of England’s tax structure. They remain separate entities, but work in cooperation under the same name, Jordan said. Media reports overseas have suggested that the Hong Kong office has disrupted several merger attempts by Richards Butler U.K. and is distancing itself from this latest possibility. Jordan said that, so far, the discussions have only included the U.K. portion of Richards Butler. Neither of the press releases issued by the firms announcing the intent to merge included any mention of a Hong Kong office. But for Jordan, it is more that they just haven’t gotten there yet, not that they don’t intend to, he said. “It’s not the case that the Hong Kong partners have rejected anything or been offered anything,” he said. According to Jordan, the London office of Richards Butler has a close working relationship with the Hong Kong office. “Roger Parker [Richards Butler managing partner] and I are interested in and optimistic that the Hong Kong firm will have a relationship with the combined Reed Smith and Richards Butler firm,” he said. Jordan and director of Reed Smith’s strategic planning, Michael B. Pollack, are traveling to Hong Kong the week of April 24 to talk with the Richards Butler affiliate about a potential relationship, Jordan said.

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