December 10, 2018

Firm Mergers

Are Weiser and Mazars Making a Run for the Global 6?

As you’re aware, we’re obsessed with the notion of the ‘Global 6 Accounting Organization’ moniker. On the one hand it’s a little silly but on the other, many non-Big 4 firms are making a legitimate run to expand their international exposure.

The latest attempt at piercing the Global 6 comes courtesy of a possible merger between the firms Weiser and Mazars. According to Weiser’s website, the two firms currently have an affiliate relationship:

Mazars is an international, integrated, independent organization, ranked fifth largest in Europe. Weiser has established a joint venture with Mazars utilizing its 10,500 professionals in over 50 countries, as needed, to expand the firm’s global reach.


According to the FT, the combined firms will make a push a building their firm around providing IFRS adoption services:

Mazars and Weiser, which have had a joint venture agreement for a decade, decided to merge with the aim of building a new US practice focusing on the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards by US companies, according to sources.

Weiser partners believe they will have an advantage in the US market working with European partners with extensive experience of IFRS.

We have a little secret to share with the Weiser partners: The Big 4 has European partners will extensive experience in IFRS too. They’re drooling for the IFRS adoption business just like you so hope you’re coming with super-secret plan that will give you a real advantage.

We contacted a Mazars spokesperson who confirmed that the talks were on-going but told us that the contract has yet to be finalized and that both partnerships will have to vote on the proposal. The vote is tentatively set for February or March.

Whether this is the “mega-merger” that was predicted back in August or not we don’t know but the combined firms would have total revenues of $1.3 billion, according to the FT. That’s just a fraction of the Big 4 revenues but it could put them in close competition with the likes of Grant Thornton, RSM International, and BDO.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on the progress of the talks as we learn them.

Mazars and Weiser merger talks point to revival of global practices [FT]

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause Merges with Beers & Cutler

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for merge.jpgChicago-based Baker Tilly Virchow Krause announced today that they are merging with Beers & Cutler, a firm based Vienna, VA.
This latest acquisition by BTVK — its twelfth this decade — is part of the firm’s “national expansion” and will add to its presence on the East Coast with the Vienna office acting as the hub in addition to its New York City location.
The Washington Business Journal reports that BTVK’s expansion goals include doubling its revenue to $400 million by 2012, which CEO Tim Christen calls ‘conservative.’


From the press release:

“When we look for merger partners, we focus on the quality of the people and the reputation of the firm. There are many synergies between Baker Tilly and Beers + Cutler, and we see Washington, DC as a critical market as we continue to develop the Baker Tilly brand in the U.S.,” said Tim Christen, CEO of Baker Tilly. “As independent members of Baker Tilly International, we have been colleagues for many years, and together, we believe in the power of the network and the value it brings to our clients around the world.”

Beers & Cutler had been expanding their practice rapidly over the past four years, increasing its number of employees from, 202 in 2005 to 319 in 2008. In 2009, B&C cut 55 employees — 17% of their total headcount — however, managing partner Ed Offterdinger insists they were not related to the merger:

“[These layoffs] were not at all a factor in the decision to merge,” said Ed Offterdinger, Beers & Cutlers’ managing partner. “We’re doing this from a position of strength.”
The downturn is easing, and the firm is seeing increased demand for its services, and “the merger will help accelerate that,” he said.

The Washington Business Journal does report that the merger will lead to an additional ten layoffs, but that the firm will be adding staff “in the near future.”
Our understanding is that Mr. Christen and Mr. Offterdinger are meeting with Beers & Cutler staff today and were not available for interviews or additional comment. If you work at either of these firms and have any additional details (especially if you were in the B&C “meeting”) on this story, get in touch with us.
Beers & Cutler to merge into Baker Tilly Virchow Krause [Washington Business Journal]
BTVK_Press Release.pdf

The Grant Thornton ‘Global Six’ Campaign Has Hit a Snag

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Grant-thornton-logo.JPGGrant Thornton’s global revenue results have yet to come out, however the Times Online is reporting lower UK revenues for the past fiscal year. This widens the gap between GT and Big 4 and possibly jeopardizes any hope of the ‘Global Six’ moniker making it into the mainstream.


This despite their ambitious efforts:

Two years ago, Grant Thornton unveiled ambitious plans to increase revenue to £500 million. It had just acquired RSM Robson Rhodes and appeared set for rapid growth. There was talk that it could close the distance on Ernst & Young and break the Big Four’s lock on blue-chip audit and advisory work.

This, as the Times notes, appears to be only a pipe dream now. They dish a little gossip about GT merging with E&Y which was de-nied pretty adamantly by the UK CEO, ‘That’s absolutely not true and I’ve no idea where it comes from.’
We really wish we could take credit for starting that rumor but alas, we can’t. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be the same if GT had to merge with someone. It is, however, worth speculating if any type of semi-mega merger would even be possible. We touched on this topic some time ago but that was for sport so we’re asking for serious speculation now.
If you’ve heard merger talk at any of your firms discuss — or just wonder aloud about which firms would/could/should get together — in the comments and feel free to opine on GT’s latest efforts in the Global Six campaign.
Grant Thornton slips further behind the Big Four [Times Online]

We Are…ParenteBeard

Thumbnail image for quaker_1.jpgWe know you’ve been anticipating the new name of the merged firm of Parente Randolph and Beard Miller like it was the most recent offspring of Bragelina and we’re happy to report that the two Pennsylvania firms have finally made their decision.
The new firm, which was officially born on October 1st, will be known as ParenteBeard, LLC. Sadly, we were pulling for simply “Beard”, if for no other reason, in honor of Ken Lewis’s sporting of facial hair to work, but what the hell do we know about naming firms? Web CPA quotes their reasoning:

“We selected the name ParenteBeard after considering the collective strengths and attributes of both firms and the significance of this combination,” said [CEO, Bob] Ciaruffoli in a statement. “Our new name honors our histories, while positioning the union as one firm, ParenteBeard.”

Still not convinced about the choice but maybe we don’t know the whole story. Perhaps there’s a serious case of pogonophobia among the top brass. If you’ve got better suggestions for the new firm’s name or discuss your own fear of beards, chinstrap or otherwise, discuss in the comments.
Parente Randolph and Beard Miller Merge into ParenteBeard [Web CPA]

BKD Makes a Move, Albeit a Small One

bkd.gifNot sure how we missed this but whatevs. BKD made a move on a local Dallas firm, KBA Group LLP on June 1.
BKD will add eight partners, 95 employees, and approximately $16 million in revenues to its business.
According to AccountingWEB, “This expansion will allow BKD to meet the needs of the rapidly growing Texas market as it serves clients from its offices in Houston, San Antonio, and now Dallas.” Sounds like a BKD press release but if you say so…Enjoy the new boss, KBA!
BKD announces merger with Dallas-based KBA Group [AccountingWEB]