Mining for mergers in the maple leaf state – will Canada follow Australia's lead with a wave of international tie-ups?
Canada and Australia have a lot in common. They are both huge countries (9.98m sq km and 7.7m sq km respectively), sparsely populated (34.7m and 22.9m), literate (both 99%), wealthy ($41,500 (£27,000) and $42,400 (£27,500) GDP per head) and rich in natural resources. So when UK law firm Norton Rose announced mergers with two Canadian practices – Ogilvy Renault in 2011 and Macleod Dixon in 2012 – there was naturally speculation that Canada's legal market would follow the pattern set by its Australian counterpart, where almost all of the big domestic firms jumped into bed with international partners within a couple of years of each other. As David Corbett, managing partner at Canadian firm Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, recalls: "At the time of the Norton Rose merger, there was a lot of talk among the managing partners here as to whether Australia was a good analogy. The conclusion was that nobody knew and we would have to wait and see."
When Norton Rose merged with Ogilvy Renault and Macleod Dixon, many predicted a wave of international deals in Canada. That hasn’t happened yet, but, as Grant Murgatroyd asks, could the country still follow Australia’s lead?
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