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Merging of three companies in Asia Pacific

Merging of three companies in Asia PacificDentons global chief executive Elliot Portnoy and Chairman Joe Andrew have announced the firm’s intention to enter into a three-way merger with Australian firm Gadens and Singaporean firm Rodyk & Davidson, subject to a partner vote.

The deal would see Dentons expand its reach in Asia Pacific, enter Australia for the first time, and add over 500 lawyers from Gadens and 200 from Rodyk & Davidson respectively. Partners at the three firms will cast their votes in mid-November with an announcement on the result expected shortly afterwards.

Both firms are ranked in The Lawyer’s Asia Pacific 150 report, with Gadens at number 21 and Rodyk & Davidson at 67.

Portnoy and Andrew told The Lawyer that the firm does not expect any regulatory obstacles in Singapore or Australia because of the firm’s Swiss Verein structure.

”What we’ve done today is announce that the leadership has made a recommendation to partners, with a vote to take place in mid November,” Andrew said. ”All of the partners of all of the firms are considering the combination right now.”

Elliot said: “Once the votes are in and tallied we would then work for the leadership of Gadens and Rodyk and focus on launching the combination in early 2016.”

“Both Gadens and Rodyk are full service firms,” Andrew said. “They focus on the type of things that are obviously strengths in the market.”

Gadens would bring its offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Singapore and Port Moresby to Dentons, while Rodyk & Davidson would allow Dentons to add an office in Singapore and additional resources in Shanghai.

Andrew added that the firm “has accomplished more for its clients in one year than any other firm in recent history”.

“We are turning some into new opportunities; we are finding more people coming to us,” he said.

At the beginning of the year Dentons became the largest firm in the world after securing a merger with Chinese firm Dacheng. At the time of the combination Dacheng had 50 offices and over 3,000 lawyers despite only being founded in the early 1990s.

Earlier in the year Dentons also merged with US firm McKenna Long & Aldridge after 18 months of negotiations. The move boosted Dentons headcount to 6,600 lawyers of which 1,100 are based in the US.

Andrew and Portnoy told The Lawyer in June that the firm was in merger talks with 21 firms globally in a bid to expand its operations. The duo defended the firm’s rapid expansion, saying it would follow its clients’ needs in its strategic development.

This year has also seen Dentons launch in South Africa. In Europe, Dentons opened its first office in Italy with the hire of 21 lawyers, eight of whom joined from DLA Piper, while it recently emerged that London based Matthew Arnold & Baldwin banking and finance partners were in talks with Dentons.

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