The alliance announced today between Gilbert + Tobin and the Perth based firm Blakiston & Crabb could develop into a merger between the two firms.
Blakiston & Crabb managing partner Michael Blakiston told Lawyers Weekly that "time will tell" as to whether the current alliance between the two firms was the first stage in a merger process.
"There is no standing agenda to have formal merger talks," Blakiston said. "Like anything, we will see how this [alliance] works and if it is mutually beneficial for both parties to take the relationship further, then that is something we might look at down the track."
Gilbert +Tobin approached the Western Australian firm over 12 months ago. Blakiston said that his firm had received previous overtures with regard to an alliance, but "this was the first one that excited him".
"Gilbert +Tobin are clearly a tier one player in their market, while we are a top tier player in Western Australia with regard to corporate work up to $250 million," he said. "Gilbert +Tobin want to move into the energy and resources space and we want to broaden our base and get involved in larger matters."
The two firms will continue to trade as separate entities, but will share resources across a broad range of areas.
Blakiston said the alliance would provide his firm with an insight into "the results driven Sydney culture", and that Gilbert + Tobin's existing alliance with the Chinese firm King & Wood would provide Blakiston & Crabb with an opportunity to expand its number of Chinese based clients. He also said his firm was now in a better position to compete with local firms such as Cochrane Lishman Carson Luscombe with regard to corporate work in excess of $250 million.