BLP and Bryan Cave to decide on merger by end of February as voting process gets underway

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and Bryan Cave partners are set to begin voting on their proposed transatlantic merger, with a decision expected to be reached in less than three weeks’ time.

The results of the vote will be announced in the week beginning 26 February. If the merger is successful, it will create a 1,500-lawyer firm with combined revenue of about £730m, and 32 offices in 12 countries around the world.

A BLP spokesperson said: “BLP and Bryan Cave confirm that a proposal to combine the two firms will be voted upon by both partnerships with an outcome expected the week of 26 February 2018. No further comment will be made until the vote is finalised.”

In January, Legal Week revealed that voting had been delayed by tax issues relating to the firms’ desire for close financial integration. Some partners had expected to vote on the deal – which was announced in October last year – before the end of 2017.

Both firms have stated their intention to pursue a fully integrated merger, rather than the looser Swiss verein or company limited by guarantee structures that have been adopted by many other recent transatlantic tie-ups. When announcing the talks last year, Bryan Cave Therese Pritchard said: “Our firm would be one of only a handful of global firms operating in a one-firm structure, with more than 500 lawyers in both the US and also internationally.”

Deloitte has been advising on the tax implications of the tie-up, while BLP has also turned to Macfarlanes for advice on the deal.

BCLP has been touted as a potential name for the merged firm, with website addresses including bclplaw.com, trustbclplaw.com and bryancaveblp.com all registered since the talks were announced.

In January, BLP brought forward its partner promotions round due to the ongoing talks with the US firm.