IPA 100, San Francisco-based Burr Bilger Mayer and Beyond the IPA 100, Long Beach, Calif.-based Windes & McClaughry announced their plan to merge, effective, Jan. 1, 2012.
The merger of BPM (net revenues of $65.9 million) and W&M (net revenues of $23.8 million) will create the second largest firm on the West Coast, (behind, Seattle-based Moss Adams (net revenues of $316 million)) with combined revenues of approx. $100 million.
“This is the first true north-south merger of significant firms in California accounting history,” says BPM MP, Steve Mayer. “This will provide more resources for our existing clients, more opportunities for our employees, and a better competitive advantage for us in the marketplace,” says Windes MP, John Di Carlo.
Mayer tells IPA that the firms started talking last October after BPM recognized that their strategy for growth needed to change. “Every six months or so I would get a call from top 15 firms. I knew the ones who do not have a big presence in California were coming this way. In the past, we were never too interested in going to Southern California. One day I woke up and said, this isn’t going to work anymore.” BPM is looking to replicate the success it had of building up a presence around the Bay Area and bring that model to southern California. “Our strategy is to start with a foundation firm and grow the immediate area,” Mayer says. “This will be a myth buster,” he adds, on the ability of northern and southern California to unite as one firm.
The combined firm will be known as BPM in Northern California and as BPM Windes in Southern California. Mayer will be the firm’s CEO and MP. Di Carlo will be responsible for the operations of BPM Windes. The firm will have 73 shareholders, 550 employees and 11 offices.
Allan D. Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group, who served as principal advisor on the deal commented, “This has to be the most significant interstate CPA firm merger to hit California in decades. Both firm’s were powerhouses in their respective markets and took a look at the accounting landscape and said it is time to create a statewide firm. Everyone always says that northern and southern California people are so different but the cultures and philosophies of these two firms were as common as they come. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some other mergers (in California and the west coast) into this group in the near future.”
Both firms have been named an IPA Best of the Best in the past. BPM is a member of The Leading Edge Alliance, and W&M is a member of Baker Tilly International.