The days of Grant Thornton being the fifth-largest accounting firm in the United Kingdom appear to be numbered, as Moore Stephens, a top 10 firm in the U.K., is reportedly getting into bed with BDO, the sixth-largest U.K. firm. The Times in London wrote yesterday: BDO, the accountancy and business advisory firm, has confirmed that […]
Well, what have we here? It's an article from the Journal's man on the accounting beat, Michael Rapoport: KPMG LLP is going long on the market for hedge-fund services. The New York accounting firm on Thursday agreed to buy Rothstein Kass, a New Jersey firm that caters to hedge funds and other alternative investment firms. As you […]
You need to go over to WSJ to read all about how BDO is aggressively gobbling up firms in order to get that much closer to the Big 4's backside. Here's a nibble: BDO, one of the midtier accounting firms below the Big Four, has been aggressively trying to grow faster under Chief Executive Wayne […]
Well, this is an interesting twist to the Rothstein Kass KPMG merger drama. We're glad to see our friends at Accounting Today getting on this: For the last few weeks the accounting profession’s rumor mill has been buzzing with stories that Rothstein Kass is about to be acquired by KPMG. Is this all just a […]
Over the weekend, we began hearing rumors of a KPMG/Rothstein Kass merger. Rather, a somewhat upset individual sent us this:
Today in obscure firm merger news, Baker Tilly and New York-based Holtz Rubenstein Reminick have professed their love for each other and are entering into a holy union on June 1st. "We've been looking for the right merger partner in New York and we found that partner in Holtz Rubenstein Reminick. They have a […]
Two weeks after Argy, Wiltse & Robinson climbed aboard Captain Jack's ship, BDO has found a new firm to satisfy its insatiable appetite for small firms. The latest addition is Philadelphia's Asher & Co. and the firm's 100+ partners and employees will join up with Berson & Co. on November 1. Hopefully AWR won't mind that […]
Effective November 1, AWR will succumb to the charms of the BDO after 20 years of blissful solitude. The DC-area firm has three locations in McLean, Virginia ,Bethesda, Maryland and Fort Lauderdale, Florida and BDO CEO Wayne Berson will let 26 more partners squeeze in. [BDO via WBJ]
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 today's firms you've probably never heard of if you aren't in the Midwest news, we've gotten word that Plante Moran will announce it's taking on Chicago firm Blackman Kallick as its new +1 at some point today. This should be pretty exciting for the Blackman Kallickers since Plante Moran has a great reputation (size […]
The word on the street is that the pace of accounting firm mergers will increase in the coming year. That's pretty fun for all of us because we occasionally like to spoil the surprise for everyone. Plus, the new name game is everyone's favorite. In the past few years, there have been several notable mergers […]
A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned the rumored merger talks of Reznick Group and J.H. Cohn. At the time, both Reznick CEO Ken Baggett and JHC Chief Tom Marino passed on the opportunity to talk to us, which isn't that unusual. As is our wont, we decided to go with the rumor and give […]
As readers of this website well know, occasionally we like to report on merger rumors that are floating around the accounting world. Most recently we reported that Eide Bailly and Wipfli were going to make a very handsome couple as EB Wipfli only to have the deal fall apart a little over a month later. […]
There will only be EB Wipfli in your dreams. We were just forwarded an email that Eide Bailly CEO Jerry Topp sent to the firm announcing that the deal is no longer happening. From: Jerry Topp Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 12:34 PM To: ~!All Users Subject: Important Merger Update Importance: High I have some significant news […]
On Wednesday we reported that the latest entries into the accounting firm merger orgy were Wipfli and Eide Bailly. Today, the firms rolled out their trite little song and dance about client service, expanded geography and whatnot but we've been over that, so we'll spare you from repeating those details. What we do have is a […]
Last month we heard a rumor that Milwaukee-based Wipfli (I've been informed it's pronounced WIFF-lee) and Fargo-based Eide Bailly were in merger discussions. Supposedly, Wipfli partners voted on the merger right before Christmas but our source said that prior to the vote "[Wipfli] announced internally that they are merging with Eide Bailly," and that the […]
Sounds like it. By way of gobbling up a firm that sounds like it should belong to John Fogerty.
[CCR, LLP] [t]he full-service accounting and advisory firm announced Monday that it has entered into “exclusive negotiations” with Chicago-based Grant Thornton, one of the largest U.S. accounting firms that currently lacks a Connecticut presence. Its closest office is Boston. Neither party elaborated on terms and boundaries of their talks, except to say in a written statement that “a resolution is expected by year-end.” CCR, with offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, is the 13th largest accounting firm in the Hartford Region with 44 employees and 22 CPAs[.]
CCR has five office locations, none of which were born on the bayou, and only one – Glastonbury – that’s in the Constitution State. So technically, they’d be in CT but I mean, COME ON.
It’s been quite awhile since we heard a good merger rumor and this past week we finally heard one that doesn’t involve Moss Adams or Grant Thornton.
Rumor has it Larson Allen and Clifton Gunderson are merging. Vote approved by Larsen Allen, vote pending by CG.
We checked with another source, someone familiar with dealings within the accounting industry, who confirmed that the two firms are talking. According to this person, the combination would make sense as both LA and CG are “sleepy” firms that don’t perform public company audits and have been making small acquisitions here and there. Also it would strengthen CG in areas like Virginia/Maryland where they are rumored to be lowballing engagements and Larson in places like Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin where CG has a big presence. This person also said that the deal was “probably 50/50 right now” with the rumored name of the new firm being “CliftonLarsonAllen”.
Clifton Gunderson CEO Krista McMasters told Going Concern that this is “not a story” right now because the firms are simply in “exploratory discussions” and there has not been a vote by the CG partners. Ms. McMasters also denied that there had been any decision on the name of the combined firm, reiterating that they are simply feeling each other out.
Even though it doesn’t sound like things are hot and heavy yet, we rammed a few details together from Accounting Today’s most recent Top 100 Firms list to see what the CliftonLarsonAllen firm would look like:
• A combined $470 million in revenues. That would be good enough to be the 10th largest firm in the U.S.
• 60 offices (probably some consolidation) in 24 states and The District of Columbia.
• Over 300 partners and 3,000 total employees.
A spokesman at LarsonAllen declined to comment but was trying to get someone in the know to call us back. So far, we haven’t heard anything. If you’re in the loop and have more details to share, email us.
Back in the spring, any chances of a GranMA merger that originally cropped up back in January were put to rest. This was after an impassioned denial by Moss Adams CEO Rick Anderson to his fellow partners.
And maybe all the GranMA talk was just that- talk. But what’s not talk is that Moss is moving into the midwest combination with Overland Park, Kansas-based Warinner, Gesinger & Associates LLC (“WGA”).
WGA focuses on telecommunications clients, which will allow MA to expand its own telecom practice outside the west. WGA principals Bill Warinner and Jarret Rea will join Moss Adams as partners, and Andrew Denzer will join as a director. You want quotes from the particulars? You got it!
“We look forward to helping our clients further strengthen their financial operations,” Warinner said. “This is a challenging time for the telecom industry and we are excited to deepen our telecom practice. In addition, Moss Adams provides a full spectrum of telecom and value-added services that our clients will enjoy.”
For Moss Adams, the combination demonstrates the firm’s commitment to strengthening its telecom offerings and to growing the Moss Adams team. According to Rick Betts, chair of the Moss Adams telecom practice, “Moss Adams is focused on providing premier client service. A strong Moss Adams presence in the Midwest means our telecom clients have more resources at their fingertips.”
So sorry GT, Moss Adams has moved on, officially. Hope you have too.
Remember those GT/Moss Adams rumors from back in January? At the time, our post sent both firms calling for plumbers but we still mangaged to get a copy of an email from Moss Adams CEO Rick Anderson that denied the rumor in an email to the firm’s partners. Everything has been quiet since then mostly because…well, it’s busy season. Granted, firm leaders like Stephen Chipman and Rick Anderson aren’t thigh-deep in spreadsheets like most of you so the fact it’s entirely plausible that while you’re all distracted, TPTB have been courting each other.
We received this brief note from a tipster yesterday:
Rumor is [Grant Thornton] [is] about to announce big west coast deal.
Our source originally speculated that a tax/valuation/consulting boutique was the target because of an old Andersen connection but then told us that the latest word from the west coast is that Moss Adams is back in the picture. In our original post, we went over the reasons for and against the GranMoss merger and frankly it still could go either way (we’re leaning “no” at this point). That said, Grant Thornton has been on a buying spree, most recently picking up some attest services from the LECG Corp. fire sale, so a merger of some kind wouldn’t be a surprise but WHO?? We’re listening to any and all well-founded or crackpot theories.
Moss Adams has declined to comment on the rumor thus far and Grant Thornton did not return an email requesting comment.
UPDATE: This just in from a Grant Thornton tipster:
While I have no actual basis for substantiating this, we have a Moss Adams wireless signal in our office in the central region. There is no Moss Adams office in our building, or even out state, its been there since about January when the rumors first popped up. I just thought it was interesting. I have no insight into any of this, I’m just a lowly peon staff…
Perhaps there’s an explanation for this but I’m no expert on the wireless signals and whatnot so I’ll leave it to you to reason this out.
This week we learned that Dixon Hughes and Goodman & Co. would be wedded in CPA firm bliss on March 1st. We’ve also seen a couple of smaller mergers announced this week in the tri-state area: Rosen Seymour Shapss Martin & Company LLP and Kahn, Hoffman & Hochman, LLP formed Kahn Hoffman & Hochman and Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC and ERE, LLP.
But e heard a rumor that trumps all of these:
The new rumor is that Grant Thornton and Moss Adams are merging. I have it on good authority (an industry consultant and the MP of a California firm).
Okay, so not exactly rock solid but intriguing enough for us to ask around. So far, Grant Thornton spokeswoman Kristi Grgeta has not returned our emails or voicemails and Moss Adams has declined to comment at this time. We’re poking around with other sources but still waiting to hear back.
So for now, let’s just go with the hypothetical. If GT and Moss were to combine, it would make them the 5th largest firm in the U.S., narrowly edging out McGladrey, with about $1.5 billion in revenues, going by Accounting Today’s most recent figures. Currently they are 6th (GT) and 11th (MA) on the AT100 list and 6th (MA) and 23rd (GT) on Vault’s flagship ranking. Their combined forces would have nearly 800 partners and over 7,100 total employees, if you assume no layoffs.
While all that might serve Stephen Chipman’s desire more dynamic clients (and perhaps more blogging fodder?), it would certainly require a few more hand-written notes. Not only that but GT already has a presence in every major market that Moss Adams does unless they’re looking to mine the Eugene, Oregon market for LOSERS and have reconsidered their divestment in Albuquerque. Also culturally, this seems like a strange fit as GT strikes us as pretty buttoned-down while Moss Adams is more laid back but maybe we’ve got that wrong. You tell us.
Regardless, Grant Thornton has voiced interest in merger possibilities and picked up Huron Consulting’s Disputes & Investigations practice last year, so who knows!? Both firms just closed the books on 2010 and maybe they’re laying some groundwork?
So, what do the GT and MA people make of this? Hell, anyone can chime in, we’re just finding this particular rumor pret-tay interesting. Some things make sense and some don’t, so we’ll leave it to you to hash out. And of course, if any of this sounds familiar because, you know, you heard something in a meeting about this very topic, email us. We’ll update you with anything we hear.
~ Update includes Goodman & Co. quote in fourth paragraph.
Late last week we heard some rumbling about a merger between High Point, NC-based DIxon Hughes and Virginia Beach, VA-based Goodman & Co. and lo and behold, this morning the press teams from both firms have dropped us the press release announcing the merger and a link to this page that includes details on the merger, a letter to clients, a list of office locations and FAQs.
The combination, effective March 1, will make Dixon Hughes Goodman the 13th largest firm (by revenue) in the U.S. with a combined revenues of over $280 million. This places them one spot ahead of Baker Tilly Virchow Krause and behind directly behind Plante & Moran (this is going by Accounting Today‘s count). The combined firm of Dixon Hughes Goodman will have 30 offices (with HQ in Charlotte), in 11 states with 1,700 professionals. The firm’s leadership will consist of Thomas H. Wilson, Managing Partner of Goodman & Company, as the Deputy Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, Charles Edgar Sams, Jr., Chairman of Dixon Hughes, will continue to serve as Chairman and Kenneth M. Hughes, Chief Executive Officer of Dixon Hughes, will also remain in that position.
Both firms ranked very high in Vault’s Accounting 50, with Dixon Hughes coming in at #5 and Goodman & Co. landing at #15. Goodman ranked very high in some notable categories including #2 in compensation, #3 in business outlook and #1 in green initiatives.
The press release states that Goodman & Co. “retain all of its existing Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. offices,” which we interpret as “no reductions in headcount”
but we’re waiting to confirm and we’ve confirmed this with Goodman’s Gary Thomson who said, “we anticipate an increase in the near term as we take new industry specialties to our new markets.”
On a far more exciting note, Goodman & Co., by virtue of this merger, has broken into the Elvis-impersonation market, of which Dixon enjoys a sterling reputation.
Congrats to both firms on the merger and we wish them many happy years together. Obviously, the honeymoon will have to wait – busy season and all. We’ll keep you updated on any further developments.
Last Friday we learned that Marcum and Stonefield Josephson were now super-accounting friends. The MarcumStonefield deal was just the latest combinatio in what has been a busy year for consolidation by CPA firms.
With our interest piqued, we did some digging and discovered a rumor of another merger, this time between WeiserMazars and New York-based Marks Paneth & Shron.
A source with knowledge of the discussions told GC that MP&S has been looking for various buyout options, including discussing a possible merger with Eisner earlier this year. When it was clear that the EisnerAmper deal was happening MP&S started looking for other options, which included WeiserMazars.
Our source indicated that the deal was very close to being finalized saying that it “sounded like” MP&S’s management committee had approved the deal.
We checked in with both firms to find out the latest on the situation and discovered from an MP&S spokesperson that the deal wasn’t happening. Officially, this is what the firm had to say:
It’s our policy not to comment on specific discussions. In general, we can say that we are always looking for approaches that will enable us to anticipate and serve the evolving needs of our highly valued and sophisticated client base — and also allow us to provide new opportunities and challenges to our people. Occasionally that means exploring partnerships, collaboration and even mergers with other best-of-breed organizations with complementary capabilities, expertise and values. However, no such discussions are currently in progress.
A short time we heard back from Doug Phillips, the Managing Partner at WeiserMazars who provided us with this statement through a spokesperson:
After much serious and detailed discussion, the managements of WeiserMazars LLP and Marks Paneth & Shron LLP have concluded that we cannot agree on a set of merger terms that we are prepared to submit to the partners of each firm to vote on. We have therefore concluded our discussions for the time being.
We continue to have the greatest respect for Marks Paneth & Shron and its partners. A combination is just not the right move for both firms at this time.
So there you have it. There was little wining and dining but ultimately it wasn’t love. That being said, it sounds like both firms are on the hunt, so we’ll keep our ears open. If you have information or hear rumors of any potential merger, email us at [email protected] with the scoop.
Stonefield, which had offices in San Jose, Walnut Creek and San Francisco, as well as three others in Southern California and one in Hong Kong, merged with Marcum LLP and was rebranded MarcumStonefield.
Terms of the deal were not immediately available.
Founded in 1975, Stonefield had 150 employees in its seven locations. Now, Marcum has more than 1,100 employees in 21 offices, most of which are on the East Coast.
Stephen Chipman also says that he misunderestimated the demand for his time. Who could have known?
• The over/under is $2 billion by 2015. Who has action on this?
• Is everyone clear on the “the dynamic organization space”?
• What do we think of Stephen sans spectacles?
• Merger and acquisition strategy? Who is GT going after? SC keeps it vague, per standard operating procedure. Accordingly, we welcome your rampant speculation.
We have the luxury (and giddy pleasure) of receiving more crazy ass emails than the average Tom, Dick or Harriet (see: PwC Houston Partner). Some of the stories turn out to be true, some turn out to be rumors. That’s just the way things go.
One reoccurring rumor that continually keeps us guessing though is that of a mega-merger among a Big 4 . Frankly, we take a agnostic approach to these rumors (that’s probably shocking for some of you) but they never fail to pique our curiosity. You can drop us a line with your wild-ass theory about tri-firm merger between KPMG, Moss Adams and Baker Tilly to form MGMT but we can probably debunk it with a couple of emails and phone calls. Plus, the firms will deny ’til they die on any of these rumors anyway.
EisnerAmper is a perfect example.
They played coy with rumors around their merger for about a week and didn’t roll out the BIG NEWS until Monday when they could issue their boilerplate press release on cue (the video was a nice touch, however).
Lots of accounting firms are looking to grow through combinations or purchases in this impotent economy (WeiserMazars, Marcum & UHY, hosts of regional combos) but are the Big 4? Our intuition says no but the rumor mill provides us with whispers of talks occurring between the largest firms.
It’s not completely unheard of for the largest firms, as is evidenced by McGladrey’s purchase of Caturno & Co. that C.E. Andrews was so excited about in his interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s. Also, Barry Salzberg told the Journal that Deloitte is actively looking (granted, it’s for the consulting practice) but these are small potatoes.
No, the stuff we hear about has a Big 4 firm going with a second tier firm to either leapfrog other Big 4 firms or to inch closer to them. The difference between PwC (#1 in global revenues) and KPMG (#4) is around $6 billion. Depending on how aggressive a firm wanted to be in its merging efforts, the gap could be close quickly or a new #1 could be crowned.
But forget about revenues and the auspiciousness of the being the biggest firm for a second. Can a Big 4 firm realistically merge in a second tier or top 10 firm successfully? Never mind the logistics of office location, files, people etc. What about culture? What about service methodologies? The mere thought of matching up those pieces is a mind job for the people that actually have to deal with them. The bigwigs at the top might play off the problems that such a transaction would create for those in the trenches. Make adjustments would take years.
But it’s been done! Coopers & Lybrand and Pricewaterhouse in ’98 being the most recent. KPMG and E&Y tried it in ’97 and failed so it’s unlikely that the idea of another huge merger doesn’t cross people’s minds every once in awhile.
So let’s talk this out. Are these rumors completely unfounded or are is it understood that there are talks ongoing? If they are rumors, where the hell do they come from and what’s the motivation to spread said rumor? People in the know are encouraged to bestow wisdom in the comments and get in touch with us. And if you’re a vet from a merger of any size, share your thoughts on the experience and how your firm handled it.