Headhunter Richmond in merger talks

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The company declined to give details, but sources close to it said they

included international firms. There has been speculation that Odgers Ray & Berndtson, its much larger rival, is among them.

However Odgers' CEO, Richard Boggis-Rolfe, denied any interest. He said: &quotWe

have not entertained any offers for any other search firms since our

acquisition of (financial services specialist) the Berwick Group last year.

However, that does not mean the situation cannot change.&quot

Richmond is understood to be close to opening an office in Hong Kong, which

is likely to have implications for any deal.

Richmond was founded in 1994 by Andrew Peck, a former corporate financier at

Merrill Lynch. It has a strong reputation in corporate finance, fixed-income

and investment management.

It is also one of the few European search firms with a large presence in real

estate finance and has worked in the field

throughout Europe, Asia and North America.