Merger talks between top 40 law firms Osborne Clarke and Field Fisher Waterhouse have collapsed over ‘differences in approach’.

The firms confirmed in September that talks had started over a joint venture.

But in a statement today, the firms said they had reached a decision not to pursue the discussions, with the decision made ‘amicably’.

Michael Chissick, acting managing partner, Field Fisher Waterhouse said: ‘Although our firms have similar ambitions, they have a number of essential differences, including those between both firms’ international structures.

‘Those differences were marked enough to convince us that we would retain our core strengths better as separate firms. The process has been positive, both as a way of assessing internal strengths but also because of the strong relationships and friendships that have been formed between the two firms.’

Simon Beswick, managing partner of Osborne Clarke, added: 'We have a fairly similar vision of where we want to be and, between us, we have some great practices that could work well together.

'The shared vision sparked the exploratory talks. In the end, though, we had to recognise that our approaches are too different to combine.'