McClure Naismith in takeover talks as speculation mounts about firm’s future

Robin Shannan
McClure Naismith executive chairman Robin Shannan

Following months of speculation about the financial state of McClure Naismith, it has emerged the firm is in talks to be taken over.

Speaking to the Sunday Herald, executive chairman Robin Shannan said the mid-sized firm knew for some time it would need to become a “bit bigger” to remain competitive.

He said: “We have tried to grow organically but are now looking at a merger with a larger firm as the best way forward.

“The legal market is consolidating with the emergence of large, UK-wide multi-disciplinary firms and smaller, specialist practices.

“We are finding that medium-sized, independent firms such as ours lack the scale needed to compete.”

Mr Shannan did not rule out that parts of the business may be broken up and added partners are “looking to take as much of the firm to one destination as we can”.

The firm has yet to file its accounts to the year April 2014 and was threatened with being struck at Companies House in May.

At the time a spokeswoman said this was because of “technical issues” and that the firm’s accounts would be sent “very soon”. However, that has yet to happen.

The Companies Act 2006 provides that a private company can be fined, at first £750 when its accounts are three months late, increasing to £1,500 if they are over six months late.

Failure to file annual accounts also constitutes a criminal offence with unlimited fines.

The firm’s accounts for the 12 months to 30 April 2013 indicated that turnover dropped from £13.1 million in the previous year to £12m.

Mr Shannan did not disclose which firms McClure Naismith is in talks with and refused to confirm speculation a team of seven at the firm are due to move to Maclay, Murray & Spens (MMS).

A spokesperson for MMS told Scottish Legal News: “We keep in contact with others in the market from time to time, as you might expect, but clearly it wouldn’t be appropriate to pass comment on other firms.”

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