Eversheds go merger hunting in the US of A

Eversheds is no stranger to an international tie-up but now it’s in the market for the jewel in its global crown 

What’s this you say? Eversheds are sniffing around in the US?

Well, yes. I’m not sure that’s quite how they’d put it… they’re actively seeking a US merger partner.

Who’s they?

At the moment the chief executive Bryan Hughes and chairman Paul Smith are leading the charge, but they’ve had a US strategy team on the case for a few years.

Who’s in the US strategy team?

Alongside Hughes and Smith are the firm’s head of company commercial Keith Froud, head of human resources Martin Warren, employment partner Martin Hopkins, head of employment law Joanne Hyde, litigation partner Damian Hyndman, co-chair of cross border M&A Robin Johnson and commercial disputes partner Neville Byford.

So, what’s taken them so long to start looking?

It’s been in the pipeline for a while. Hughes put increasing Eversheds’ global footprint at the forefront of the firm’s ambitions with his 2020 Vision in June 2012.

Didn’t he also moot a Swiss Verein around then?

I was just getting to that! Yes. Alongside the three-year plan to accelerate integration among the firm’s international offices, Hughes also started looking at how to standardise the firm’s services globally, including whether or not it could achieve full financial integration in the future.

What are the challenges associated with merging in the US?

Financial alignment is one – having a similar remuneration structure is always helpful with mergers of this type for example. The US also has different accounting standards, so they have to work with that and then there’s the holy grail of merger-making…

Finding the right cultural fit?

Exactly. It’s all about a shared culture and values baby!

Which firms have they been talking to then?

That’s top secret but Eversheds already has a number of best-friends firms in the US, which you can be pretty sure they’ll have a word with.

Okay, where in the US are they looking?

It’s an open book at the moment. The US has lots of different markets, many of which would be a suitable target for Eversheds. For example litigators may push for a Washington-based regulatory firm, while the finance and corporate lawyers are more likely to opt for a New York firm.

And the tech guys will head to Silicon Valley?

You catch on quick.

Has Hughes got the support of the firm?

It seems so. Ninety per cent of partners voted in favour at the partner conference in Rome this summer, hence them jumping into action.

Do say: Mutual combination

Don’t say: Just like DLA Piper, yeah?