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Shardul Shroff in talks to open offices on brother's turf as mechanics of 2 Amarchands raised in mediation [Update-1]

Amarchand Mangaldas Delhi, led by the region’s managing partner Shardul Shroff, has been in acquisition talks with lawyers and at least one law firm in cities falling under the management of Mumbai-based managing partner Cyril, as the two brothers have been embroiled in a protracted mediation that is startting to look all but certain to result in a break-up into two firms.

According to sources, Amarchand Delhi has been in early-stage talks with lawyers in Mumbai and Bangalore to open up offices in the cities after the mediation concludes by year-end.

Management at Amarchand has been divided between the two brothers along two regions: the Mumbai region under Cyril includes Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, while Delhi oversees Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Gurgaon.

All signs now point towards a 2015 break-up of India’s largest firm into two separate entities along filial lines, following Shardul filing in the Bombay high court over the will of their mother, who held the single largest equity stake in the firm.

It is understood that discussions in the mediation now also include a likely separation, with proposals ranging from allowing both brothers to use the Amarchand Mangaldas brand name, as well as an agreement prohibiting the poaching of each other’s lawyers in the case of a split. The mediations are presided over by investment banker & JM Financial founder Nimesh Kampani, senior counsel Harish Salve, Justice BN Srikrishna.

Shardul Shroff did not respond to an email seeking comment and a Delhi spokesperson declined to comment. Amarchand Mumbai also declined to comment. 

Update 8:05pm: Shardul Shroff commented by email: "You have published your article on LegallyIndia without waiting for my reply.  It is a completely inaccurate report.

"The mediation is ongoing and there is no truth to the rumours published by you in relation to talks with any lawyers to open offices in Mumbai or Bangalore and splitting the brand between Cyril and me or a non-poaching agreement between Cyril and me. These are all conjectures that you have carried and you should immediately withdraw this article."

Legally India had reported in November that sources close to the Mumbai side of the dispute expected mediation to move towards a break-up.

The court-agreed mediation is set to conclude on 31 December 2014, with the court having agreed to extend the deadline for Cyril to file his potentially explosive counter-affidavit until year-end.

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