Top 100 firm Bircham Dyson Bell and Thames Valley practice Pitmans have revealed plans for a merger that would create an 80-partner firm. According to a joint announcement, the firms are in 'exploratory merger discussions'. Partners will take a formal vote on Thursday 27 September. 

The announcement said that the firms had identified 'a number of obvious synergies including sector focus, culture and geography'. A merger would 'propel the firm towards the top 50 for revenue in the UK, with a headcount of 80 partners and 404 staff', it added. 

'We have decided to make this announcement now so that we can be transparent with our staff and clients throughout the process. As the discussions progress we will make further announcements.'

In the year ending 31 May 2017, Westminster-headquartered Bircham Dyson Bell reported profits of £10.9m on a turnover of £34.8m, respectively 7.7% and 3.4% up on the previous year. Its most recent expansion was last year's acquisition of the real estate team of King & Wood Malleson's European arm in Cambridge. 

Pitmans, headquartered in Reading with offices in London and Southampton, reported pre-tax profits of £5.7m on a turnover of £19.4m for the year ending 30 April 2017.