Wipfli/Milwaukee joined the crowded field of firms with a physical presence in the Chicagoland area opening an office in Oak Brook, Ill.
“We have served businesses in Chicago for many years,” said Wipfli’s Chicago OMP Brian Blaha. “This office will give us a physical presence here, which will allow us to focus on Wipfli’s relationship-based client service model to a much greater extent, and will help us to continue our strong growth in the market.” Although the office is the firm’s first in the greater Chicago area, it is the firm’s sixth office in Illinois. (See map, right.)
The Windy City remains one of the most sought after markets to enter for firms without a presence in the area that belong to the group of firms that has been dubbed super regionals or small national firms.
It also remains one of the toughest to gain entry to via M&A, according to accounting firm M&A guru Allan Koltin, President and CEO Koltin Consulting, who has a half dozen or so clients who have asked him to help them find a merger candidate in Chicago
Koltin likened the dearth of firms that could serve as a Chicago flagship firm for potential acquirers to the produce aisle on Sunday night.
“I’ve told them it’s probably too late,” Koltin told ANR in an interview in March. “The ‘survivors’ want to remain independent and the others are too small to be a flagship. It’s a little like Sunday night at the grocery store and you’re going through the produce. All the good stuff has already been picked over!”
Firms wanting into Chicago or looking to add in the market have had to get creative and take advantage of available opportunities to enter or add in one of the toughest M&A markets in the country.
In March WeiserMazars/New York entered the market through a deal with collapsed litigation firm LECG, comprised mainly of former Smart & Assoc. staffers that firm MP termed Doug Phillips termed as “opportunistic” when the firm acquired one partner, David McRoberts, along with 10 professionals.
Grant Thornton/Chicago added two partners and 31 professionals from LECG, to its Chicago operation in April.
The firm also closed deals for LECG staff in Philadelphia, New York, Oregon and Kansas City.
Accounting News Report published a story about the new office in the newsletter’s May 22 issue.
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