KWM deconstruction a lesson for foreign tie-ups

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The European partnership of King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has recently been haunted by news of its personnel departure and possible takeover by others, but the law firm’s Swiss verein structure probably implies a limited influence on the rest of the platform.

One of the benefits of the verein structure is that “although its Europe part catches a cold, the rest of the platform does not necessarily get the flu”, Kent Zimmermann, a consultant of Zeughauser Group, a consultancy for law firms, told Asia Business Law Journal. Since the different partnerships on the KWM platform are not fully financially integrated, it should not be difficult to detach any part.

As this issue went to press, KWM’s European arm had gone into administration. According to KWM China’s statement, its European partnership has officially quit the KWM verein. The administrators are now negotiating with several parties, including KWM China, over the purchase of the assets of KWM’s European arm.

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