Listed firm Gordon Dadds is set to become a major international player through a merger with international maritime specialist Ince & Co, the Gazette understands. The combination would create a business with annual revenues of £114m and offices in 14 jurisdictions across Europe and Asia. It would also greatly increase the scale of the stock-exchange listed sector of the legal services market. 

Gordon Dadds has been on a shopping expedition since an initial public offering last year raised £20m. Earlier this year it announced the acquisition of London and Oxford based corporate technology firm White & Black Limited for £2.918m. However the Ince merger would be on a different scale. Ince describes itself as a network of affiliated commercial law firms with offices in Beijing, Cologne, Dubai, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Le Havre, London, Marseille, Monaco, Paris, Piraeus, Shanghai and Singapore.

A source close to the parties said that a merger would give Ince access to capital while allowing Gordon Dadds to expand its network. The Gazette understands that talks are in an advanced stage but no date has been set for a partner vote.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange today Gordon Dadds said:  'The boards of Gordon Dadds and Ince & Co are in discussions to merge the two businesses. The precise structure and mechanics of the transaction are also under discussion and the respective boards are working towards a further announcement as soon as possible.'

In July Ince & Co confirmed that it was making 32 redundancies in its London office, including seven fee-earners.

Gordon Dadds shares opened up 5.2% at 181.50p.