Approached by a competitor with a merger offer this continental European firm turned to Lexington for support. During a series of workshops with the leadership team, we were able to address their hopes and fears - the various risks and opportunities – developing a list of key success factors and approach to the negotiation. Despite a number of challenges, the merger – which completed in 2016 – has already significantly increased profitability.
AFRICAN MERGER PARTNER
One of the global firms was reviewing their options for opening an office in West Africa. We were able to provide an independent viewpoint – completing anonymous peer and client reviews which highlighted the challenges and opportunities of each firm. The merger completed in 2017.
MERGER OFFER FROM GLOBAL FIRM
We advised a leading North African law firm as they reviewed a merger offer from a global firm. The partners were concerned about any negative impact this would have on their business, including the loss of referral work from other firms. They were also concerned that they lacked the organisational infrastructure required in order to handle the new work. We were able to help them decide their way forward – they have since merged - while developed a business plan.
WEST AFRICA MERGERS
Over recent years, we have advised a number of global firms on their merger and alliance relationships in Africa. In separate assignments we have advised local firms on their merger options, including the review of other potential options..
REVIEWING THE ASIAN FOOTPRINT OF A GLOBAL LAW FIRM
We assisted one of the biggest global law firms on the expansion and consolidation of their highly successful network of offices across Asia.
MERGER OPTIONS IN MEXICO
One of Mexico´s top firms asked us to advise them on a merger offer. Working to a tight schedule with the founder and other partners, we were able to firstly, surface their personal ambitions and develop a firm-wide vision for the firm. Secondly, we were then able to review the merger offer in terms of the extent to which it would help or hold them back from that vision. The firm decided to remain independent.
SOUTH AFRICA STRATEGY REVIEW
We assisted one of the top South African firms following a merger offer from one of the global firms. They had some tough decisions to make within a short timescale. Working with a project team - a representative group of partners from across the various departments and offices – we started by reviewing the current state of the business before devising future potential scenarios and assessing the “merger or no merger” options against that. We ensured engagement and buy-in from across the firm, through full partner meetings at key stages.
Selecting the right alliance partner - not random liaisons
Legal markets are more competitve and more complex, consolidation and globalisation continues. While past alliances were sometimes agreed over lunch and toasted over cocktails, these days a more structured approach is required.
Where required, we can assist a firm in developing the strategic logic for a merger or alliance and reviewing the various options. An increasingly wide and varied set of options are on offer from the international firms. In many cases, buy-in is required from the wider partnership.
With clarity over the objective, we assist firms as they make a selection of potential alliance and merger partners, or alternatively as they respond to a potential suitor. If preferable, we can also make the initial approach - on an anonymous basis if required.
In order not to damage relationships, we often complete the due diligence process - asking some of the more challenging questions around finances and clients - while also providing an outside perspective.
Our experience in merger negotiation makes the process more successful, through equity and remuneration issues, structure and governance, and the partnership agreement. And as outsiders, we can ask those challenging questions without any potential threat to good relations.
Not all mergers deliver on their promise - the hard work doesn´t end with signing an agreement. We regularly develop workshops for partners, assisting them in reviewing the new opportunities, developing and then putting into action their vision for the new firm. Part of this is about getting buy-in from all partners to the new approach - whether that is at a firm, practice, industry group or client level.