Long-running merger talks between magic circle firm Allen & Overy and US firm O’Melveny & Myers have been called off despite ‘compelling synergies’, the firms revealed today. 

The two firms commenced discussions early last year but encountered various hurdles, including the question of what the merged practice would be called. Had the merger taken place, it would have created a transatlantic giant with 3,000 lawyers and revenues of £2bn.

O’Melveny was founded in Los Angeles and has over 700 lawyers in 15 offices around the world, including in Hong Kong, Beijing and Brussels. Its London office is in the City’s Paternoster Square.

A spokesperson for Allen & Overy said: ‘Allen & Overy and O’Melveny & Myers have held discussions about a possible combination and, despite agreeing that there were some compelling synergies between us and that it was sensible to explore a possible deal in some detail, we have mutually decided not to continue these discussions.’

Allen & Overy said its presence in the US remained its ‘highest priority’ and that it will ‘significantly increase [its] immediate focus on lateral individual and team hires, while remaining open to considering opportunities for larger combinations that may arise in the future.’

A spokesperson for O’Melveny & Myers added: ‘O’Melveny has concluded that the firm’s best course is to continue executing on its strategic plan — which has led to an unmatched culture, deep client partnerships, and record financial performances.’

Several US firms have entered the London market through mergers in recent years. In 2017 UK-basedBond Dickinson joined with US firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice to form Womble Bond Dickinson.

Meanwhile, in 2017 international firm Eversheds combined with US-based Sutherland Asbill & Brennan to create a 2,300-lawyer firm. Other examples include Norton Rose’s merger with Fulbright & Jaworski in 2012 and the three-way merger that created Dentons in 2013.