Well, it's official (told you so), the Plante Moran/Blackman Kallick merger is on. This will set up Chicago’s 7th largest accounting firm with more than 2,000 employees, 22 offices, and over $375M in combined revenue, which is not quite anything to sneeze at. Three local offices in Chicago will serve more than 5,000 clients, primarily in the manufacturing, real estate and construction, financial institutions, private equity and venture capital, not-for-profit, services and technology industries.
The most exciting part about the merger is that, well, the firms are excited. I know that sounds silly but bear with me here, when I spoke to Plante Moran managing partner Gordon Krater this morning ahead of the press release, he was giddy. "We are so excited about this!" he told me.
Apparently the merger has been in the works for a year and a half and came about because Plante Moran is setting its sights on being the #1 middle-market firm in the Midwest if they aren't already. When asked what Plante Moran might do next to achieve this goal merger-wise, Krater shyly dodged the question and insisted we should let the ink dry on the Blackman Kallick deal before identifying bigger opportunities for the Detroit-based firm. "We realized we could grow a lot faster together than we ever could apart," said Krater of the deal.
Blackman Kallick managing partner Steve Schneider will lead the newly joined Chicago office and I was assured that both firms have a 100% client retention and 100% staff retention goal in mind as they work out the merger kinks together. The deal will also allow Blackman Kallick the opportunity to provide more extensive consulting services than they ever could pre-merger, further securing their position as a leading middle-market provider.
Plante Moran has been named one of the best places to work by FORTUNE for 14 years in a row, and locally by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2012 as a best place to work and a best place to work for women. Additionally, Inside Public Accounting named Blackman Kallick as a “Best of the Best” firm each of the last five years. Over the past 10 years, Plante Moran has tripled its revenue and nearly doubled its number of staff. In addition, the firm has a low 12.4% annual staff turnover. By all accounts, both firms care about their people.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, the merger coincides with PM's annual firm conference so we expect lots of toasting and cake to abound.