March 26, 2019

Allen & Overy, O'Melveny & Myers merger talks exposes chinks in the competition’s armor


Much interest has been generated in the merger talks between Allen & Overy and O’Melveny & Myers. So much so that one top partner at a US firm in London said, “Allen Myers sounds like a 1970s porn star.”

For an entire generation, this potential trans-Atlantic merger holds immense significance as it is likely to set the tone for the future of all top UK firms.

A Twitter poll by Legal Week saw readers reluctant to let go of the A&O brand with the most popular merged identity names being Allen Myers and Allen & O’Melveny. If at all the deal goes through, the likes of Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Will be unable to keep a straight face while talking about building their New York presence. The deal would put immense pressure on rivals, even the likes of Latham & Watkins and Kirkland & Ellis. But in the event the deal fails, the implications would be even bigger.

For one, if A&O is unable to secure a deal with a mid-tier US firm like O’Melveny, it will put all decent deals out of reach.

A&O rivals in the UK are watching closely and beneath it all there is a desire that the deal goes through, however grudgingly.

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