M&A roundup: 6 deals from across the country

BDO adds Biegel Waller; Brown Edwards expands in Virginia; Prager Metis combines with Shine & Co.; Hoffman Eells merges with Abbott, Frenyea & Russell; and Mariner Wealth Advisors acquires the tax practices of David G. Miller & Associates and G.M. Bremer & Associates.

MARYLAND: BDO adds Biegel Waller
Details: BDO USA, a Top 10 Firm based in Chicago, is expanding in Maryland by bringing in the partners and staff of Biegel Waller Investment Advisory Services and Biegel Waller Tax Advisory Services in Columbia, Maryland, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

The deals will extend BDO’s footprint in the Greater Washington, D.C., and Greater Baltimore markets. Biegel Waller Investment Advisory Services is a wealth management firm delivering investment strategies to high-net-worth clients, while Biegel Waller Tax Advisory Services is an affiliated tax-consulting firm that specializes in international tax, state and local tax, tax compliance and tax advisory services. The deal with Biegel Waller Investment Advisory Services will add one partner (Mark Biegel) and nine staff members to BDO, while the transaction with Biegel Waller Tax Advisory Services will add three partners (Amber Blain, Stephen Lawrence and James Waller) and 14 staff members, including two interns.

Financial terms were not disclosed. BDO USA ranked No. 7 on Accounting Today’s 2019 list of the Top 100 Firms. The firm earned $1.64 billion in annual revenue last year.
BDO New York offices
BDO New York offices

“The addition of Biegel Waller Tax Advisory strengthens BDO’s presence in the Greater Washington D.C. and Baltimore area,” said BDO USA CEO Wayne Berson in a statement. “Together, our clients will benefit from a broader and deeper bench of tax advisory resources. We can help clients evolve their tax strategies, understand their total tax obligations, leverage emerging technologies to improve operational efficiencies, and leverage their tax data to make more informed business decisions. I am pleased to welcome the Biegel Waller team to BDO.”

Both Biegel Waller Investment Advisory Services and Biegel Waller Tax Advisory Services were founded in 1998, along with their parent firm. Biegel Waller LLC is a member of the Biegel Waller group.

“The cornerstone of our business is preserving and enhancing our clients’ wealth for generations to come,” said Mark Biegel, co-founder, partner and senior portfolio manager at Biegel Waller Investment Advisory Services, in a statement. “We seek to minimize portfolio risk and maximize peace of mind for each individual and unique client. With BDO, our clients have even greater access to high-caliber, comprehensive wealth management services throughout the Atlantic region and across the country.”

BDO plans to maintain Biegel Waller’s main office in Columbia. “Through this expansion, BDO continues to execute its targeted growth strategy, expanding its depth and breadth of offerings in key markets across the country,” said Koltin Consulting Group CEO Allan Koltin, who advised both firms on the deal, in a statement. “Biegel Waller Tax Advisory Services and BDO share common cultural philosophies, including cultivating high-performing, engaged teams that provide exceptional client experiences.”

Last year, BDO expanded in Seattle by adding Peterson Sullivan LLP. It also acquired customs and international trade practice Global Trade Strategies Inc. in Atlanta and the crisis management and business continuity consulting and technology firm Lootok in New York, among others.
VIRGINIA: Brown Edwards acquires Covenant Real Estate Services and merges in Gregg & Bailey
Details: Brown Edwards & Co., a Top 100 Firm based in Roanoke, has acquired a majority interest in Covenant Real Estate Services LLC, a real estate title and settlement firm in Salem, Virginia, and separately merged with Gregg & Bailey PC, an accounting firm in Richmond, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Covenant Real Estate Services, founded by Roger Kronau and Jerry Dunnavant, serves attorneys, lenders, developers, investors and realtors in helping clients perform the due diligence needed to purchase or refinance real estate. The expansion of Brown Edwards’ services is said by the firm to be one of the first such acquisitions of a title and settlement operation by an accounting firm in the U.S.

“Real estate service offerings are a natural fit with our goal of being a one-stop shop and most trusted advisor for our clients,” said Brown Edwards CEO Jason Hartman in a statement. “Covenant, with its solid reputation in the industry, and depth of experience fits the bill nicely.”
Brown Edwards' office in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Financial terms were not disclosed. Brown Edwards ranked 98th on Accounting Today’s 2019 list of the Top 100 Firms, with $42.4 million in annual revenue. The firm is projected to have $57.5 million in annual revenue in its current fiscal year. Covenant's annual revenue was not available. Brown Edwards has 46 partners and 360 staff members, while Covenant has five staff members.

As part of the deal, Dunnavant will continue his role as president of Covenant and will also become director of business development at Brown Edwards, where he will focus on overall strategies to improve business growth for the firm in existing markets and expand in new markets such as Newport News and Richmond. “This is an ideal marriage for Covenant as we look to expand our service footprint and offerings,” Dunnavant said in a statement, Both of our organizations have shared values as to quality, accuracy, and reliability which provides peace of mind for our clients.” Kronau will continue with Covenant as operations manager, while Covenant’s current director of business development, Mike Walton, will transition into the role of director of marketing and communication at Brown Edwards.

Brown Edwards also recently announced a merger with Gregg & Bailey, P.C. As part of the deal, G&B partners Brad Bailey and Beth Llewellyn and their employees will join the Brown Edwards team.

“The addition of G&B to Brown Edwards will have a significant impact on the combined firms as we continue to strive to better serve our clients and the communities we operate in through our growing practice,” Hartman said in a statement. “This merger positions us to provide a greater depth of expertise and resources to serve our clients, especially those in the Richmond area, strengthens Brown Edwards' position as one of the largest independent CPA firms in Virginia, and expands our geographic footprint into a vital market.”

G&B sees the merger as a way to offer its clients a greater array of services. “We recognized that the next step for our team members and clients was to merge with a firm that could enable us to expand the level of services we can offer to our clients, but wanted to be part of a firm that is committed to high quality and service as we are,” Bailey said in a statement. “We are very excited about joining Brown Edwards. They are a growing firm with resources and expertise that will bring depth and a broader range of services to our clients and that will provide additional opportunities for our staff to grow and develop.”
NEW YORK: Prager Metis combines with Shine & Co.
Details: Prager Metis CPAs has added Shine & Co., expanding the firm’s presence in its home base of New York City, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

As part of the deal, Brian Pecker and Stephen Macaluso of Shine will be joining Prager Metis as principals. Financial terms were not disclosed. Prager Metis ranked 51st on Accounting Today’s 2019 list of the Top 100 Firms, with $97.03 million in annual revenue. Eight other team members from Shine are also joining Prager Metis.

“We are excited to have the team from Shine & Co. join us,” said Stuart Mayer, office managing partner of Prager Metis’s New York City office, in a statement. “This merger enables us to continue to provide excellent, personalized service to the closely-held entities and individual clients that we serve.”
Prager Metis offices

Shine & Co. LLP provides tax, accounting, auditing, planning and consulting services to closely held businesses and individual clients.

“We are excited to join a firm whose philosophy and culture we share,” Pecker said in a statement. “Prager Metis’s reputation for providing high level, personalized service fits with our client service goals, and we look forward to bringing the resources of this new venture to our clients.”

The combined firm has posted a video on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7O53NCOeGU

Prager Metis did several mergers last year, including in November with M Moskowitz, a firm in River Edge, New Jersey. In October, Prager Metis added LFL Veritas in Teaneck, New Jersey. In July, it expanded to Washington, D.C., by merging in Frank & Co. PC, and earlier in the year it extended its footprint in both Florida and New Jersey by adding Beck, Villata & Co.
NEW YORK: Hoffman Eells merges with Abbott, Frenyea & Russell
Details: Hoffman Eells Group, a firm that has locations in Lake Placid and Malone, New York, is combining with Abbott, Frenyea & Russell, headquartered in Plattsburgh.

Even though the two firms are merging together, they plan to retain their separate names, according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. All the current employees will continue to work at the combined firm, except for one who is retiring. The combined firm will include 11 CPAs.
NEW JERSEY AND CALIFORNIA: Mariner Wealth Advisors acquires the tax practices of David G. Miller & Associates and G.M. Bremer & Associates
Details: Mariner Wealth Advisors, a top wealth advisory firm, recently signed binding agreements to acquire the tax practices of David G. Miller & Associates, based in Chatham, New Jersey, and G.M. Bremer & Associates, in El Segundo, California.

Bremer provides income tax preparation and planning for businesses and individuals, Internal Revenue Service and state audit representation, business consulting and estate planning, along with other services. The deal is expected to expand Mariner Wealth Advisors’ footprint in the Los Angeles market. As part of the deal, president Geoffrey M. Bremer and his six associates will join Mariner Wealth Advisors. Bremer will manage the tax practice in the El Segundo location.

“Geoffrey and his team understand the value of relationships,” said Rosario Ruffino, co-head of tax and insurance at Mariner Wealth Advisors, in a statement. “They view their client relationships like a partnership. They believe they are successful as a firm if their clients are successful. That culture fits well with Mariner Wealth Advisors’ client-first philosophy.”

The other acquisition, of David G. Miller & Associates, will expand Mariner’s income tax, gift and payroll tax preparation services for high-net-worth individuals and their families. As part of the deal, founder David Miller, partner Ellen Elise Peifer and nine tax professionals will move to Mariner Wealth Advisors.

“We are thrilled to welcome these dynamic teams on board to support our growing tax offerings,” said Rich Rosenberg, co-head of tax and insurance at Mariner Wealth Advisors, in a statement. “Each of these firms bring un Mariner Wealth Advisors Acquires Tax Practices in Los Angeles and New Jerseyique regional market knowledge and a breadth of experience that we believe will elevate the value we deliver to current and future clients.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Mariner is a $31 billion registered investment advisory firm based in Overland Park, Kansas. For further details, see the article New M&A target for RIAs? Accounting firms on Financial Planning’s site.