BDO plans to merge with its ri­val Moore Stephens

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY RAVEN­DER SEMBHY

AC­COUN­TANCY firm BDO has con­firmed that it is in ad­vanced talks to merge with ri­val Moore Stephens.

The en­larged firm will over­take Grant Thorn­ton to be­come Bri­tain’s fifth largest ac­coun­tant, be­hind the so-called Big Four of Deloitte, PWC, EY and KPMG.

The deal is ex­pected to be com­pleted in spring 2019 and the new group will trade un­der the BDO brand. It will boast gross an­nual rev­enue of £590m and em­ploy 5,000 peo­ple across the UK.

Part­ners of both firms have voted in favour of the merger, sub­ject to fi­nal con­tracts.

Paul Eagland, man­ag­ing part­ner at BDO, said: “If ever there were a time for firms to tur­bocharge their growth, it’s now.

“As a com­bined firm, we of­fer greater choice, com­pe­ti­tion and scal­a­bil­ity to the top end of the mar­ket, and are bet­ter placed to deal with any eco­nomic dis­tur­bance from Brexit.”

BDO spe­cialises in au­dit­ing firms on the Lon­don Stock Ex­change’s AIM mar­ket and the group plans to take on a sec­ond of­fice in the City.

The deal comes at a sen­si­tive time for the sec­tor, with the com­pe­ti­tion watch­dog ear­lier this year launch­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into au­di­tors fol­low­ing a string of scan­dals and con­cerns over con­flicts of in­ter­est.

The Com­pe­ti­tion and Mar­kets Author­ity is un­der­tak­ing a de­tailed study of the au­dit sec­tor to ex­am­ine “con­cerns that it is not work­ing well for the econ­omy or in­vestors”.

But it is the role of the dom­i­nant Big Four giants, rather than smaller play­ers, that will come un­der most scru­tiny amid calls for them to be bro­ken up.

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