BDO acquires Global Trade Strategies and Lootok

BDO USA LLP announced two acquisitions Wednesday, of Global Trade Strategies Inc., an Atlanta-based firm that specializes in customs and international trade regulation, and Lootok, a New York-based firm that handles crisis management and business continuity consulting and technology.

As part of the Global Trade Strategies acquisition, BDO is launching a customs and international trade practice. It will be led by Damon Pike from GTS, which was previously a member of the BDO Alliance USA. The acquisition will also expand BDO’s international tax services to provide cross-border global tax advisory services.

The financial terms of both deals were not disclosed. BDO USA, based in Chicago, ranked No. 7 on Accounting Today’s 2018 list of the Top 100 Firms, with $1.41 billion in annual revenue. The deals will add a total of 13 new staff members to BDO.

BDO New York offices
BDO New York offices

BDO’s new customs and international trade practice will help multinational companies deal with the complicated rules surrounding cross-border movement of goods and services, with the goals of reducing their duty, VAT and excise tax payments while improving their corporate customs and trade compliance. Pike will join BDO as a principal and will be in charge of the new practice. He and the other former GTS employees will be based in BDO’s South Florida offices.

“Between the pinch of tariffs, escalating trade tensions overseas and uncertainty around Brexit, today’s multinational organizations need a deeper understanding of the impacts on their supply chains and global trade operations,” said Monika Loving, BDO’s national practice leader for International Tax Services, in a statement. “We are thrilled to have Damon join us to lead our newly-formed customs and international trade practice. Combined with our significant international tax experience, Damon and his team will help our clients align customs-related requirements with their broader cross-border tax and business strategies.”

Pike is also an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law, where he teaches customs law.

“At GTS, we prided ourselves on the values of integrity, trust and deep experience,” he stated. “Our focus on those qualities make joining BDO a natural fit.”

Lootok acquisition

In the other M&A deal announced Wednesday, BDO is expanding its crisis management and business continuity service by acquiring Lootok. The firm was founded in 2006 and uses military models, cognitive science, design thinking and game theory to help clients deal with business continuity, crisis management and enterprise risk management.

“We are pleased to add the impressive resources of Lootok to our advisory offerings to address the diverse needs of our clients,” said Jay Duke, national managing partner of advisory services at BDO USA, in a statement. “In today’s rapidly evolving risk environment, risk managers need a new toolset and a modernized, nonlinear business continuity program. Lootok brings an innovative, proactive approach to building business resiliency that will complement BDO’s existing business continuity services.”

The Lootok acquisition was effective Jan. 1, 2019. Bentley Associates LP, a New York-based investment bank, acted as Lootok’s financial advisor on the transaction. As part of the deal, Lootok CEO Sean Murphy is joining BDO as managing director and will lead BDO’s crisis management and business continuity practice. Lootok’s other professionals have also joined BDO and are working out of the firm’s New York City offices.

“For the last 12 years, we’ve helmed the revolution in business continuity planning for the modern threat environment, developing cutting-edge concepts and technologies,” Murphy said in a statement. “Joining BDO provides us with a wider platform to solve problems for our clients across the full spectrum of resiliency and opens up new avenues for risk management innovation.”

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