Aug. 11 Update: We're chasing the news that the merger is definitely off.
Rumors are flying online and off about the Heller Ehrman/Baker & McKenzie merger talks.
We’ve heard murmurs that the merger is off, but we don’t buy it. It seems more likely that it’s on, just taking a while. Here are some things we’ve heard — not confirmed — from reliable sources familiar with Heller:
A few weeks ago, partners from both firms met for dinner in the city.
- A deal still seems possible, although it probably would require Heller to make some big concessions. (Several people we trust have increasingly said they wouldn’t be surprised if Heller is forced to de-equitize a lot of partners, and reluctance to do so may be slowing the talks down.)
- Heller might have some debt as a result of partners taking their capital, or promises of payment of their capital, with them when they left.
- One Bay Area recruiter heard a merger is basically complete — which we couldn’t confirm — and has started getting more calls from Heller associates.
- Heller may or may not have an illegitimate child housed in a Beverly Hills hotel.
We're working night and day, of course, on getting more solid information, but everyone’s pretty tight-lipped. Stay tuned.
— Niraj Chokshi