Archives for November 2011

Mega-Merger Transforms Top 10 Firms

Merger activity continues to change the landscape of the largest firms in the nation. In the past 18 months, we’ve seen the following changes: Eisner LLP and Amper Politziner & Mattia merged to become (No. 15) EisnerAmper. Dixon Hughes and Goodman & Co. merged to become (No. 13) Dixon Hughes Goodman and LarsonAllen acquired LeMaster & Daniels

In September, San Francisco-based Burr Bilger Mayer and Long Beach, Calif.-based Windes & McClaughry announced their merger plans. The merger of BPM and W&M will create the second largest firm on the West Coast, behind Seattle-based Moss Adams ($316 million).    

Now, two Midwestern IPA 25 firms, Clifton Gunderson, (FY11 net revenue of $255 million) and LarsonAllen, (FY10 net revenue of $227 million) announced their merger plans. Pending final approval, the merger will take effect Jan. 2, 2012. The new firm will be named CliftonLarsonAllen.

“This merger of peer firms changes the landscape of the accounting profession and pioneers a new trend by focusing primarily on private companies and their owners,” says Clifton Gunderson CEO Kris McMasters

Gordy Viere, CEO of LarsonAllen, says industry specialization has been at the core of both firms’ practices. “Coming together heightens our capacity to develop that vital focus and extend it beyond our accounting and advisory services to our wealth management and outsourcing capabilities,” he says. “This cohesive trio of industry-focused guidance is uncommon for private businesses and public sector organizations. It’s a powerful new resource for them.” 

Organizationally, the new firm will be built around a holding company and three entities: CLA LLP, CLA Wealth Advisory and CLA Outsourcing. Both Viere and McMasters will continue as CEOs within the integrated CLA firm. Viere will oversee the CLA holding company, the wealth advisory practice and the outsourcing practice, and McMasters will oversee CLA LLP, the public accounting practice. 

Allan Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group, who has worked with both firms [Clifton and LarsonAllen] on previous mergers commented, “It all starts with culture and leadership and these two firms score exceptionally high in both categories. The great culture might have something to do with their Midwestern roots but they also bring great innovation and Hall of Fame leadership to the deal. It will be interesting to see if they go next to New York City and other ‘capital market’ type geographies as they continue to take the combined firm to the next level. Having observed how well both of these firms have integrated prior mergers, I think they will do a great job of combining and leveraging their resources and talent.”