Wipfli/Milwaukee joined the crowded field of firms with a physical presence in the Chicagoland area opening an office in Oak Brook, Ill.
WeiserMazars/New York bolstered existing operations by practices and location along with adding a Chicago presence when it acquired the commercial and insurance audit and business consulting professionals from the rapidly disintegrating LECG Corp.
“The deal was strategic,” WeiserMazars MP Doug Phillips told ANR. “It helped strengthen our existing commercial and insurance practice and gave us a foothold in Chicago. We served plenty of Chicago-area clients from New York prior to this. This was very opportunistic for us.”
The opportunity to acquire the two pieces from LECG, dovetailed with WeiserMazars’ strategic plan, resulting in the deal.
In terms of raw numbers, it breaks down to one partner, David McRoberts, along with 10 professionals joining the firm in Chicago. While that might not seem like a much of an entrance, Chicago is not an easy market to "merge into."
Accounting firm M&A guru Allan Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group told ANR he has a half dozen or so regional firms who have asked him to help them find a merger candidate in Chicago.
“I’ve told them it’s probably too late.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 your going through the produce. All the good stuff has already been picked over!”
Phillips told ANR the firm was excited it was able to capitalize on the opportunity to get into to the hard to penetrate market.
“For Weiser this is huge,” Koltin said. "It is difficult to enter the Chicago market through a traditional M&A transaction. This is a big positive for the firm and should serve as springboard.”
The Philadelphia headcount increased by four partners, Brian Clouse, Joe Colgan, Diane Franzoni and Jeffrey Palmer, and approximately 30 professionals.
WeiserMazars entered the Philadelphia market in January 2010 with the acquisition of Fishbein & Co./Horsham, Pa. (60 total staff).
WeiserMazars said additions in its Pennsylvania operations bring its headcount in the market to approximately 100 people.
“The Philadelphia market is a very important market for us,” Phillips said. “We added a great group of professionals to increase our critical mass in the market.”
The firm is going to concentrate on digesting its new acquisitions in Chicago and Philadelphia but is eyeing opportunities in Los Angeles, Houston, Miami and Atlanta, to name a just few of the markets WesierMazars is keen on.
WeiserMazars has a headcount of approximately 650.
This story was published in the March 6, 2011 issue of Accounting News Report
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