WSJ: Patton Boggs talks merger as lead over competitors drops

Patton Boggs LLC, a high-profile Washington lobbying firm with a Louisiana powerbase, has apparently hit a financial snag, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The firm was founded in the late 1960s by Chairman Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., a member of what was then one of Washington’s most connected political families. Boggs is the son of Hale and Lindy Boggs. Hale Boggs, a Democrat, served as House Majority leader. When Hale Boggs was killed in a 1972 plane crash, Lindy Boggs won a special election in 1973 to replace him and held the seat until 1991.

Those connections and the ones they led to have served Patton Boggs well until recently, the article said.

But the firm saw revenue drop 12 percent in 2013 to $278 million. The firm’s public-policy work, where Patton Boggs made its name, accounts for about 25 percent of the total.

The story, posted on WSJ.com, reports that Patton Boggs is still leading its lobbying competitors, but that lead is dwindling in the disclosed portion of lobbying revenue.

Patton Boggs’ disclosed lobbying revenue slipped by 13 percent in 2013 to $39.8 million, according to federal disclosure data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Meanwhile, the revenue of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Patton Boggs’ closest competitor, grew 8 percent to $33.8 million.

Patton Boggs officials told The Wall Street Journal that things at the firm are fine, and that Patton Boggs is at the top of its game.

However, the firm is working with turnaround specialist Zolfo Cooper LLC and restructuring lawyer Albert Togut, according to The Wall Street Journal. Patton Boggs is also talking to its lenders about providing credit and is in merger talks with a much larger firm, Squire Sanders, the article said.