Browne Jacobson and Beale & Co end merger talks

Browne Jacobson’s merger talks with Beale & Company ended in May, it has emerged.

In a joint statement today (21 August), the firm’s senior partner Derek Bambury and Beale & Company senior partner Antony Smith said: ”Our discussions over a potential merger were amicable and constructive on many fronts with many shared interests. However, both firms agreed that they would not finalise a proposal to merge at this time.

“Our businesses have continued to thrive and grow while the merger talks were progressing. Neither firm are in a position where merger is a necessity but we both saw clear potential benefits in doing so and entering into discussions.”

Smith added: “We continue to see plenty of opportunities for specialist firms of our size in these sectors where we feel we can continue to thrive and increase our market share.”

Legal Week reported in March that the Midlands-based firm was closing in on a merger with London-based construction and insurance firm Beale & Company.

The deal would have created a UK top 50 firm with turnover of £82m. Previously, Browne Jacobson broke into the top 50 in 2014-15 (ranked in 50th place with revenue at £58.7m) but dropped out the following year.

Earlier today, Browne Jacobson also announced a 4% increase in turnover for the 2016-17 financial year, a rise from £64m to £66.8m.

Managing partner Iain Blatherwick (pictured) said: “This is the eighth year in succession that we have delivered growth. Despite the lingering uncertainty over Brexit and growing price pressures, I am delighted that we have successfully maintained the momentum we have built over many years whilst continuing to invest in key areas.”

Over the past 12 months, the firm has appointed 13 new partners, taking the total number to 133.

Notable new clients include BUPA, the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy and London-headquartered asset management company Investec. The firm is also on tier two of the UK government’s central legal services panel.