Mergers

Reminder: Voting on AICPA-CIMA Merger Ends Tomorrow

This hit my inbox today via an AICPA newsletter: Voting closes tomorrowWe're in the final hours. Voting on the AICPA member ballot closes tomorrow, June 16, at 5 p.m. ET. If you haven't done so already, I strongly encourage you to take just a minute to vote. We have so much to be proud of […]

Here’s The Real Reason Mid-Tier Firms Are Merger Mad

As we know, BDO and McGladrey have both been on a very busy acquisition streak lately. BDO picked up one of Ohio's biggest firms with SS&G and then grabbed UHY's Texas practice. McGladrey, meanwhile, gobbled up sub 100 firm Cole + Reed out of Oklahoma. We're talking apples and oranges when it comes to size, […]

RIP ParenteBeard, We Hardly Knew Ye

Well, it's official, ParenteBeard is no more. The merger was effective October 1, and Baker Tilly has wasted no time slapping their logo all over Internet real estate that once belonged to ParenteBeard. We haven't heard any further grumblings of layoffs or general discontent, but if you know something we don't, you know what to […]

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Baker Tilly ParenteBeard Merger

Back in June, we learned that Baker Tilly was in merger talks with ParenteBeard. Unlike certain accounting firms in merger talks that shall remain nameless, it seems at least on the Parente side there was nothing to hide. Who wouldn't want to be proud to be the 12th largest accounting firm in the country post-merger? […]

Another Family Office Group Flees Rothstein Kass After the KPMG Acquisition

Do we have a trend here? Perhaps. The founders of JDJ Resources Corporation have left Rothstein Kass Family Office Group to launch JDJ Family Office Services. Boston-based JDJ Family Office Services, which provides administrative multi-family office and personal CFO services to high net worth individuals and families, will retain its entire 21-person staff and continue […]

ParenteBeard Confesses It Is in Merger Talks With Baker Tilly

We were tipped to this about two weeks ago but unfortunately our tipster failed to include an email address or any details that we could confirm (THANKS A LOT, GUY). Now, we could have just run it but that would go against our journalistic sensibilities, so we sat on it until we could get to […]

Steve Kass Insists He Meant It When He Said Rothstein Kass Wasn’t For Sale

When we first started hearing rumors of a Rothstein Kass KPMG merger in February, one of the items we were sent along with tips that an acquisition would be forthcoming was a letter from RK CEO Steve Kass that went out to staff in July of 2013. A highlight:

The Rothstein Kass/KPMG Merger Is Most Definitely On and Happening Soon, Says This

Hedge Fund Alert is subscription only so we don't have much but we do have this: After months of rumors, big-four accounting firm KPMG has reached an agreement to acquire Rothstein Kass — a deal that will make KPMG one of the top three hedge fund auditors. The deal could be announced within a week […]

As CGAs, CAs and CMAs in Canada Join Together Under the CPA, an Awkward Video to Celebrate

If you aren't aware, they're doing a little remixing of credentials up there in Canada, so naturally they did an actual remix to hammer the point home before everything becomes official across the country. Note the Canadian CPA — or Chartered Professional Accountant — is not to be confused with the American CPA. Hopefully it […]

EY and KPMG Joining Forces To Create Something Rotten in the State of Denmark

There's something cooking in Denmark, folks, and it smells like a merger that will form the Big 3 1/2: EY Denmark and KPMG Denmark have announced they are to combine operations The proposed agreement between the fellow Big Four members is still subject to regulatory approval. As such both will continue to operate separately for […]

Before You Ask, PwC and Booz & Co Are Ironing Out the Kinks As We Speak So Just Chill

The news, in case you missed it this morning: PricewaterhouseCoopers said on Wednesday that it had agreed to buy the consulting firm Booz & Company, bolstering its advisory business. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, though Booz & Company is expected to be PricewaterhouseCoopers’s biggest acquisition in several years. Still, the union of […]

Is the Big 5 Returning to California?

Hahahahaha. No, of course not. HOWEVER, Moss Adams is getting close to usurping one of the Big 4 in number of CalCPA members and that may give some people the impression that a regional firm is making waves in California.  A reader sent us the following: According to CalCPA and some number crunching, as of […]

Future Associate Wants to Know What to Expect From His Firm (That We Can’t Say, Definitively, Is CliftonLarsonAllen) That Is Merging

Ed. note: Are you in the throes of holiday cheer but deep in the belly of career jeer? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com, we’ll lend you an ear.

Hey GC,

I’ll try to keep this short and to the point.

I’ll be starting my career soon with a firm that will be merging with another. Should I be wary of anything that could change on my end?

Thanks!

The first question to cross my mind was “what firms are merging?” Caleb suggested that our contributor could be from CliftonLarsonAllen, covered on Going Concern last month. Poor Gunderson. But yes, mergers (MERGERS!) can be fun/daunting/HR headaches/swag gold mines. Below are a few things to expect.


Client Coddling: Priority #1 in any merger is for the partners to assure their clients’ confidence in the new, stronger firm. Employee cross-over from one firm to the other’s engagements can be expected on the lower levels, but expect partners to remain active on their respective clients.

Crash Courses in Firm Lingo: Here come the HR tutorials. Acronyms – the lifeblood to any public accounting firm – will have to be efficiently combined. More so, understanding what “the other guys” do is very important from a sales perspective. Understanding the merger’s strengths will not only be beneficial in making current employees confident and comfortable with the merger, but they will be prepared to answer the inevitable client question of, “why did you merge with THEM?”

IT/HR headaches: “Who do I call for computer questions?” “Who is my HR contact?” “Are we UPS or FedEx now?” “How do we submit T&E?” There are bound to be efficiencies in the day-to-day operations of the newly merged. But, inefficiencies in the short term will hopefully lead to long-term improvements.

SWAG: Let’s end this dance on a good note. HR should be ordering up all kinds of stylish pens, travel sized 10 keys, and XXL hoodless sweatshirts. Most of the goodies will be slated to hit cover the desks of clients to keep them in the loop of Gunderson’s departure from the picture. However, look out for your office’s HR professional at the holiday party (i.e. – get them wasted) and see if they’ll hook you up with some of the leftovers.

ISA Consulting Takes Up with Ernst & Young

The firm that wouldn’t be named adds the Philadelphia-based company to the advisory business.

“The acquisition of ISA Consulting is part of a broader strategy to expand Ernst & Young’s already strong presence in the performance management and analytics market,” said Bob Patton, Americas Advisory Services Leader, Ernst & Young LLP. “ISA Consulting’s reputation for quality service and integrity, as well as the experience of their team, makes them a great cultural fit with Ernst & Young.” Just don’t get mixed up with those auditors. [PRN]

Deloitte Is Eyeing Some Germans

Namely, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants based out of Munich.

Supposedly the two will have their minds made up sometime next month but by the sounds of it, the two companies are flippin’ stoked about the possibilities:

“A merger opens up a unique opportunity for growth for both firms,” [Deloitte Germany Chief Executive] Plendl said.

Roland Berger confirmed the talks.

“Discussions with Deloitte are taking place to open new and fascinating growth prospects for our company,” Roland Berger Strategy Consultants said in an e-mailed statement today.

While that’s what is going in the foreground, Adam Jones over at the Financial Times was so bold to suggest that this just another step in Deloitte’s quest to “overtake McKinsey as the market leader in strategic advice for managers.”

Now we hadn’t heard about this McKinsey-slaying goal prior to today and it seems a little credulous to think that Deloitte is jockeying with McK, especially when you consider the domination of McKinsey in the eyes of those who work in the industry.

However, on paper Deloitte derives $7.5 billion from its consulting business which is nothing to sneeze at. Considering that and the fact that they haven’t exactly made their desire for mergers a secret, Deloitte this very well could be a step in earning another #1 notch in their belt (with matching suspenders).

Accounting News Roundup: Obama Sticking to His Guns on Tax Cuts; Backdating Scandals Made Little Noise; Area Tax Con to Be Contestant on TV | 11.12.10

Obama says he’s not caving on tax cuts [CNN]
President Barack Obama declared Friday that his “number one priority” is preserving tax cuts for the middle class, and sharply denied that comments by his senior adviser David Axelrod suggest that his administration is about to cave in to Republicans who also want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

“That is the wrong interpretation because I haven’t had a conversation with Democratic and Republican leaders,” Obama said of a Huffington Post article suggesting that in advance of negotiations with lawmakers next week, the White House has calculated that giving in on tax cuts for the rich is the only way to get the middle too.

Companies Would See Big Tax Shifts [WSJ]
Tax-reform plans proposed by President Obama’s deficit-cutting commission would radically change corporate tax policy and, business groups say, could improve U.S. competitiveness in global trade. But they also could create winners and losers among U.S. companies.

Business groups and economists have long sought fundamental changes to the tax code, which hasn’t been overhauled since 1986.

Pwning the social debate [AccMan]
Proceed with caution. Sayeth Dennis Howlett, “If the title of this post bamboozled you, the rest will make your head explode.”

House Dem leaders’ reactions to fiscal panel report differ sharply [The Hill]
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) came out swinging, calling the proposals “simply unacceptable,” while the two men battling to be her deputy, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) and whip James Clyburn (S.C.), released muted responses. Neither Hoyer nor Clyburn criticized the commission, avoiding a politically explosive set of ideas as they wrestle for support from their Democratic colleagues for the post of minority whip.

Backdating Scandal Ends With a Whimper [DealBook]
“These prosecutions went out with a whimper rather than a bang,” said Christopher J. Clark, a criminal defense lawyer at Dewey LeBoeuf who has done work on backdating cases. “With few convictions and no substantial sentences, juries and the courts simply did not agree with the government’s position that stock option backdating represented a serious financial crime.”


Richard Hatch still surviving life’s rocky road [Providence Journal]
Survivor champ, convicted tax dodger and “l’m living on borrowed 15-minutes-of-fame time” Richard Hatch is now going to be on the Celebrity Apprentice.

A QuickBooks Alternative for the Accounting-Phobic Owner [You’re the Boss/NYT]
Spooked by QuickBooks? WorkingPoint may be the solution for the debit-credit disinclined.

Newsweek, Daily Beast Set Merger [WSJ]
Under the proposed agreement, expected to be disclosed Friday, the two news organizations will be combined in a 50-50 joint venture called the Newsweek Daily Beast Co. The deal comes three weeks after the two sides abandoned talks of a merger over a disagreement about control.

What Do We Make of The Sage and SAP Rumors?

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB UK, a source that delivers topical, practical content to accountants and accounting professionals.

Merger rumors. What would we do without them? The past decade or so of my professional life has been shaped by the regular appearance of bid rumors around Sage, usually of the “who are they going to buy this week?” sort.

So you can imagine my surprise to hear on the grapevine that Sage’s share price had surged almost 5% on Tuesday night on rumors that it was an acquisition target for SAP, with Microsoft and Gapgemini reported to be sniffing around the undergrowth in Newcastle too.

I’m not a stock market analyst, so I don’t really need to chase geese like this, but I couldn’t help myself from doing a little background checking. The Daily Mail appears to have broken the story, without naming sources, around 10:30 pm on Monday night. By the next morning, Reuters and numerous other outlets had picked up the trail and various analysts were puffing up the story with blogs and tweets.

There was a tweet from China Martens at 451 group of “late night activity in Walldorf” to verify that something was up, but with none of the companies involved breaking cover this really was one of those stories where one bit of unfounded gossip was feeding off another.


Years of industry-watching have taught me never to be surprised at what a software company with a wedge of cash in its back pocket can get up to, but neither SAP or Microsoft strike me as being suitable suitors for Sage. Microsoft’s entire business solutions strategy has been in turmoil for years and if it ever enters Steve Ballmer’s consciousness, my guess is that he wishes the company had never got into bed with Great Plains and Navision.

SAP meanwhile, is everything that Sage isn’t: a technology-focused global monolith that still has trouble thinking of an SME as having anything less than a $500m annual turnover. On this point Dennis Howlett blogged, “So much of Sage’s business is at an end of the market about which SAP has little understanding. Sage is on a declining organic growth curve, has a rat’s nest of code from acquired companies, is propped up by maintenance fees and has a nightmare in the US to manage with the ongoing Emdeon fiasco.”

It doesn’t happen often, but for once I find myself in complete agreement with him.

Strangely, by Wednesday afternoon the rumors had simmered down and so had the share price (although somebody seems to have done very nicely out of the rumors with 1.7m of shares shifted at the peak of the frenzy on Tuesday night).

Now I’ve voiced my doubts, they’ll probably turn around an announce the deal in the morning.

Accounting News Roundup: The Problem with American Apparel’s non-CPA CFO; Diversity Still Lags in Accounting; Patrick Byrne Denies Insider Trading Accusations | 08.23.10

Potash says in talks for superior deals [Reuters]
“Potash Corp’s board urged shareholders to reject BHP Billiton’s hostile $39 billion offer and said it was in talks with a number of potential suitors for a superior deal.

Potash Corp, the world’s largest producer of potash based in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, said superior offers or other alternatives are expected to emerge.

Discussions are on with several of these third parties in order to generate superior offers, the company said in a statement.”

How to Shine in a Skype Interview [FINSying across the country for a second round of meetings, you may be asked to interview for a job from the comfort of your living room.

While it might sound less stressful to some than an in-person meeting, such an interview can be filled with landmines for job candidates.”

The Problem With a Non-CPA CFO [FEI Financial Reporting Blog]
Francine McKenna guest-posts over at FEI for the second time, this time discussing the American Apparel situation and noting that 31 year-old CFO might be in over his head.

Goldfarb Branham LLP Investigating Shareholder Claims Against American Apparel, Inc. [Business Wire]
Speaking of APP, investigations are starting, “Goldfarb Branham LLP is investigating American Apparel, Inc. (APP 0.75, 0.00, -0.09%) due to allegations that the company may have issued materially inaccurate statements to investors concerning its 2009 financial results and the circumstances surrounding the replacement of American Apparel’s auditor.”

Movement afoot to increase diversity in accounting industry [Pittsburgh Business Times]
“Sam Stephenson, a partner at ParenteBeard LLC, a Downtown-based certified public accounting firm, brings an interesting perspective to the equation as a black man who has worked in the profession for nearly four decades. During his long tenure, he has seen improvements in efforts to recruit and promote women in the profession, but ethnic diversity still lags behind.

‘We need to bring this issue to the attention of individuals who run local and regional firms because they may not be aware that this is a problem,’ said Stephenson, who serves as a member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy, which enforces the licensing rules for CPAs. ‘A lack of diversity often means missed opportunities to attract talent and clients.’ ”


Preparer Costs Will Increase Some; Taxpayer Costs Will Increase More [Tax Update Blog]
Joe Kristan responds to fellow practitioner/blogger Robert Flach’s question of how the new tax preparer registration will affect costs for consumers more so than tax preparers.

Gays See Complex, Changing Tax Picture [Dow Jones Adviser]
“Gay couples are taking one step forward, one step back when it comes to their tax rights. Not to mention sideways.

The shifting landscape of new rules and initiatives makes it a big challenge to provide same-sex partners with good tax advice.

In Massachusetts, a successful challenge to a federal law denying gays tax breaks that heterosexual couples get could mean progress, but only if it stands up to an expected government appeal.”

Patrick Byrne Refutes Insider Trading Claims [Forbes]

Accounting News Roundup: Rajaratnam Claims KPMG “Tricked” Him into Illegal Tax Shelter; United, Continental Agree to ‘Merger of Equals’; Some Thoughts on iPad for Accountants | 05.03.10

Galleon’s Rajaratnam Said He Was Duped in Illegal Tax Shelter [Bloomberg Businessweek]
Raj Rajaratnam, who is awaiting trial in an insider trading case set to take place this fall, claimed that he was “tricked into investing in an illegal tax shelter,” that was developed by KPMG and “tax shelter promoter” Diversified Group, according to a lawsuit from 2005.

Rajaratnam and Galleon co-founder Gary Rosenbach won a $5.8 million in an arbitrator’s judgment against Diversified Group and its president in 2009. KPMG was not mentioned in the judgment and neither Rajaratnam’s attorney nor KPMG would comment on the current r if the firm had made a payment to Raj.

Rajaratnam and Rosenbach said they were induced to invest in a shelter called “OPS,” or Option Partnership Strategy, which was developed by KPMG and Diversified as a way to generate fees for the firms.

“The OPS shelter was essentially an illegal basis-shifting scheme which — unbeknownst to plaintiffs — relied upon a disingenuous reading of the federal tax code,” his lawyers wrote in the complaint.

Prosecutors will be interested to know what Rajaratnam said under oath in his suit against KPMG to determine if any of his statements will be useful in their insider trading case.

United, Continental Agree to Combine [WSJ]
United Airlines and Continental Airlines have agreed to combine, in a stock swap valued at $3 billion.

The “merger of equals” would create the world’s largest airline that would control 21% of the total domestic capacity and be 8% larger than Delta Air Lines in terms of miles flown, serving 370 destinations. Assuming the deal does not raise any antitrust concerns and contracts for employees are approved in a timely fashion, the companies plan to complete the transaction in the 4th quarter of this year.

iPad for business – the taste test [ZDNet]
Dennis Howlett tested out an iPad and since some of you have, at the very least, wondered about it for your own professional use, here’s his take on Numbers, a spreadsheet application that he says is “gorgeous to look at” but has several drawbacks:

I found it was possible to create a confusing error formula. Ahem. That will require fixing. While Numbers has masses of functions (see illustration), there is no ability to create Pivot Tables. Those are the accountant’s stand by for reporting and the like. It’s boring but essential stuff. Without Pivot Tables, the iPad won’t get a sniff in the hands of this powerful and influential group. There is an alternative for the future. Some smart developers out there will build reporting applications that can run over the Internet. It is one of the gaping holes in the SaaS/cloud story requiring urgent attention.

Any other thoughts on iPad for accountants? Weigh in.

IIA Proposes New Standards for Internal Auditors [Compliance Week]
The Institute of Internal Auditors is requested comment on proposals for new standards that would include a requirement for internal auditors to provide audit opinions and to additional explanation of the responsibility of internal auditors for the work of contractors.

Grant Thornton closing Triad office, moving operations to Charlotte [Triad Business Journal (subscription required for full article)]
Grant Thornton finally got around to announcing the closure of its Greensboro/Triad office. We reported on the closure back in February. The firm announced that the “vast majority” of its approximately 30 employees would be moving to the firm’s offices in either Charlotte or Raleigh. The TBJ reports National Director of Communications, John Vita’s comments: “We remain committed to the Triad marketplace, however, we believe it can be best served over the long term by attracting the highest quality professionals who wish to work out of our larger offices in Charlotte and Raleigh.”