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September 26, 2011 8:54 AM

Ashurst, Blake Dawson Announce Merger Deal

Posted by Ed Shanahan

By Anthony Lin

U.K. firm Ashurst and Australia's Blake Dawson have announced a deal to combine their Asia operations and prepare for a full merger in 2014.

The plan, which was approved by votes at both partnerships Friday, also calls for Blake Dawson to adopt the Ashurst brand in Australia as well as in the combined Asia offices. The integration of the Asian offices and the rebranding of Blake Dawson are scheduled to take effect March 2012, with a vote on a full merger envisioned roughly two years after that.

If the merger took place today, it would give the combined firm more than 1,700 lawyers and revenue of around $850 million.

Ashurst Asia head Geoffrey Green, a former firmwide senior partner, will chair the merged Asia practice, which will number around 150 lawyers to start. The 900-lawyer British firm currently has around 75 lawyers in Asia with roughly 30 lawyers apiece in Hong Kong and Singapore, plus a smaller office in Tokyo. Blake Dawson will also contribute around 75 lawyers to the combined practice, drawing from offices in Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, New Guinea, and Indonesia. There, Australia-based Blake Dawson partners whose practices are mainly focused on Asia will also be part of the Ashurst Asia group.

Leaders at both firms say they saw the deal as a way to ramp up their presence in Asia relatively quickly.

Read The Asian Lawyer's complete story, "Ashurst, Blake Dawson Announce Merger Deal."

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