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Aukett to wed Fitzroy Robinson

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Aukett, Britain's best-known listed practice, is on the brink of merging with major commercial practice Fitzroy Robinson.

The move - which would create a top10 practice in terms of size - would finally bring some stability back to the troubled Aukett Group following a difficult year in which shareholders revolted and share prices dropped.

Only two months ago, Aukett's new chief executive Jose Luis Ripoll admitted the company was 'actively seeking' a merger after shares tumbled to just 2.75p.

But the Spaniard was quick to quash rumours that the group was eyeing up London-based RHWL and maintained they were still hunting for their dream 'girlfriend'(AJ 30.9.04).

It now seems Ripoll has found his perfect bedmate in Fitzroy Robinson and on Tuesday afternoon the Aukett Group asked the Financial Services Authority to suspend the company's shares to allow the parties to discuss a reverse takeover.

Earlier in the day a spokesman for Fitzroy Robinson had acknowledged that the practice was already in merger talks with another 'highly respected architectural consultancy'.

'Discussions are at an early stage but Fitzroy Robinson has, for some time, been looking to see where they can expand their business, ' he said.

If successful, the deal will be the second major merger for Fitzroy Robinson in less than a year, and follows hot on the heels of its recent takeover of Moscow-based Mikhail Mandrigin Associates (MMA).

With a combined workforce of more than 115, the new business group would become the seventh largest architectural practice in the UK.

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