Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Bircham Dyson Bell and Pitmans seek reversal of revenue fortunes with £52m merger bid

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Bircham Dyson Bell and Pitmans seek reversal of revenue fortunes with £52m merger bid

The partnerships at City law firm Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB) and Reading-headquartered Pitmans will this month vote on a proposed merger to create a £50m-plus firm.

A merger would be good for a partner headcount of 80, while overall staff numbers would be 404. A combined revenue of about £52m would put the merged firm close to the UK’s top 60 by revenue. A vote is set for 27 September.

BDB recorded a 3% revenue drop last year to £33.7m, while profit per equity partner (PEP) fell by 10% to £222,000. Its revenue has only increased 8% since 2013. Pitmans, similarly, saw its revenue fall 3% in the year to 30 April 2017, down to £18.7m from £19.2m.

A merger would look to reverse the flagging revenue figures at both firms. Thames Valley-based Pitmans is no stranger to mergers, with the firm completing a tie-up with City-based Calverts Solicitors in 2015.

BDB, for its part, has been eager to expand, last year absorbing the nine-lawyer office of King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) in Cambridge, with the office looking to extend its reach beyond its real estate focus.

Core practice areas for Pitmans are pensions and disputes, while BDB counts private wealth, infrastructure and corporate as its key offerings.

The firms said: ‘We have decided to make this announcement now so that we can be transparent with our staff and clients throughout the process. As the discussions progress we will make further announcements.’

thomas.alan@legalbusiness.co.uk