law firm Ashurst is set to merge operations with Australian group Blake Dawson to create a legal firm with turnover approaching £500m.
The pair hopes to rebrand as Ashurst in early 2012, having tied up their Asian businesses, with a full merger expected in 2014.
The tie-up was sealed by a vote by both partnerships late last week.
Ashurst already has operations in Asia, including offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, but hopes the tie-in with Blakes will give it greater access to markets in the region.
The silver circle currently has more than 200 partners in 12 countries.