Ernst & Young boosts Berlin with local merger
Legal Director reports
Ernst & Young’s German law firm has merged with Berlin-based Eggers in a bid to consolidate corporate in the Germany.The four-partner Eggers, which specialises in property and corporate work, in July became part of the accountant’s German operation, known Menhold & Aulinger.The link-up marks the loss of another quality small firm from the German market further reducing the merger targets for Anglo-Saxon firms wanting to enter Germany.Last month Legal Week revealed that US firm Sidley Austin Brown & Wood was planning to merge with Munich-based corporate boutique Von Boetticher Hasse Lohmann.The majority of large independent German firms have merged with Anglo-Saxon or the Big Five and smaller firms are coming under increasing pressure.Carsten Eggers, name partner of Eggers, said that despite a rash of failed real estate projects and political turmoil in Berlin the local market conditions had not moved him to join the Ernst & Young group.“The real potential of Big Five law firms has not been fully explored yet in Germany,” Eggers told Legal Week, who has taken a position on Menholds’ management board.However, Menholds’ has serious barriers to major success in Germany due to its raft of offices in non-core markets, particularly in the former East Germany such as Leipzig and Dresden.It is understood the firm is looking at ways to downsize its presence in the East and divert investment into key business centres Munich, Frankfurt and Duesseldorf.Menholds has 13 offices across Germany and is facing stiff competition from Andersen Legal’s German arm, Andersen Luther, which is rapidly hiring respected corporate partners in financial centres.In June the Andersens hired the bulk of Munich-based Wessing’s Duesseldorf corporate practice after luring its local rainmaker Wolfgang von Meibom with his team.
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