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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
Coreena Ford

Womble Bond Dickinson scraps merger plans with rival BDB Pitmans

North East law firm Womble Bond Dickinson has abandoned its merger plans with BDB Pitmans, following several months of talks.

The Newcastle Helix-based business had launched into early stage discussions with its UK rival last October, exploring the creation of a group that would have commanded around £130m in sales and employed almost 1,500 staff. Womble Bond Dickinson – created through the 2017 merger between Bond Dickinson and US firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice – has bases across the UK in Southampton, Leeds, London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Plymouth as well as its Tyneside head office. It also has 16 offices across the US.

BDB Pitmans, meanwhile, which was formed in 2018 following the merger of Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB) and Pitmans Law, has bases in Cambridge, London, Reading and Southampton. The two companies have now issued a statement, confirming that the proposed merger would no longer go ahead.

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The joint statement said: “Womble Bond Dickinson and BDB Pitmans announce today that they have decided not to proceed further with their proposed merger. After extensive discussions on the combined proposition, both firms have decided that the best path forward is to remain independent of each other. Excellent relationships have been established and the firms will continue to work closely together in the future.”

Last October, the two firms had seemed hopeful of creating a strong connection, saying that “both firms regularly review opportunities to advance the best interests of their clients and their respective firms. Womble Bond Dickinson and BDB Pitmans are focused on where they see the greatest opportunities for a merged business, including those offered by complementary practice areas and office locations.”

Womble Bond Dickinson – formerly Dickinson Dees and then Bond Dickinson – recently published its accounts, which revealed a 9% rise in revenues in a challenging market, as well as progress on its transatlantic tie-ups. Its US connections, together with membership of the global Lex Mundi network of legal firms and an alliance with German outfit Redeker Sellner Dahs, were all said to be bearing fruit.

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