Senior leadership figures from Allen & Overy and O’Melveny & Myers are meeting Wednesday in Frankfurt to discuss a potential combination between the two firms, as progress toward a decision on the proposed deal gathers pace.
O’Melveny & Myers chairman Bradley Butwin is among a contingent from the Am Law 100 firm that has traveled to Germany for the talks between management and partners at both legal giants, which are taking place at the Sofitel Frankfurt Opera hotel.
Thomas Ubber, a Frankfurt-based senior partner at Allen & Overy, is among the delegates from the Magic Circle firm at the hotel in the central part of the city. The meeting comes two months after Butwin and other O’Melveny & Myers leaders went to London to hold meetings with Allen & Overy’s firmwide management.
Those familiar with the discussions say there has been an increasing amount of contact between both firms in recent weeks, as tie-up talks between the pair accelerate. While a date to vote on a potential deal has not been set, it could take place before year’s end, if negotiations continue to progress.
One Allen & Overy partner in Germany, speaking anonymously last week, said there has not been much discussion internally about a merger, but that there was an expectation that the firm’s German partners would hear more from management soon.
“I couldn’t give you a sense if people are against it or in favor—it’s not really tangible for us yet,” the partner said.
The merger talks, news of which emerged in April, are believed to have moved into the due diligence stage, with Allen & Overy making a presentation about the potential deal to partners at its annual retreat in Miami earlier this summer.
A number of partners close to both firms have told London-based Legal Week that they expect a successful deal to be finalized, although another partner in London, who requested anonymity when discussing internal affairs, warned that it “genuinely could go either way.”
If the duo do combine operations, the union would create a business with roughly 3,000 lawyers and about $2.6 billion in annual gross revenue.
Allen & Overy restructured its partnership in Germany last year, with around half of the London-based firm’s partners in the country seeing their position on the lockstep ladder move down or be frozen in a bid to improve profitability. Allen & Overy also made it more difficult for those in the country to move beyond 40 points on its 50-point ladder.