Armanino McKenna LLP, one of the largest accounting

firms in California, has acquired Thibault Associates Inc., an independent resellers of computer hardware and software in northern California.

Effective Monday, the merger will create an IT consulting practice of more than 40 professionals, making it one of the largest full-service IT consulting practices of any accounting firm in California, according to the companies. The majority of TAI's employees, most based in the East Bay suburbs of San Francisco, will transition to Armanino McKenna's headquarters in San Ramon, Calif.

Terms and value of the deal were not disclosed.

"This is our third merger in 2005, and we want the market to know that we are making a strategic commitment to offering a broader depth of services to our clients," said Armanino McKenna managing partner Andy Armanino, in a statement. The firm will continue to target clients in the mid- to large-market corporate segments.

The combined group will be certified by providers such as Microsoft, Best Software, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Citrix and others. Armanino McKenna said that the merger will have three major benefits for the firm's clients, including: expansion of the Microsoft Business Solutions practice; increased capabilities for network design, hardware installation and IT security; and increased programming skills for Web-based projects.

Armanino McKenna is based in the San Francisco Bay area, and the 52-year-old firm employs 178 staff members at its headquarters and offices in San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose and San Leandro, Calif.

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