Top-100 firms Shakespeares and SGH Martineau have revealed they are in talks over a possible merger deal.

The firms released a joint statement today to confirm that discussions are taking place. The duo said they are a ‘neat fit’ with expertise in different sectors and little overlap in specialist practice areas.

A combined firm would move them into the top 50 practices in the UK, with annual fee income of £75m and almost 900 members of staff.

Andy Raynor (pictured), chief executive of Shakespeares and Emma Shipp, managing partner of SGH Martineau, in a joint statement, said: ‘Our firms only contemplate mergers where we believe that there may be significant benefit for our clients, our sectors, our people and our community.

‘We’re in the process of confirming the benefits that a combination may bring and our working relationships to date have been friendly, positive and strong, demonstrating a shared sense of values.’

Shakespeares operates from seven offices in the Midlands and home counties. It merged with Harvey Ingram in 2012 and was approved as an alternative business structure a year later. The firm recorded a turnover of £50m in 2013-14, up 69% from £29.6m in 2011-12.

SGH Martineau, which operates from offices in London, Birmingham and Brussels, has 49 partners, more than 130 other lawyers and a similar number of support staff.