BDO USA Merges in LBA Group

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BDO USA LLP has expanded into Jacksonville, Florida, by adding the LBA Group, the firm’s ninth location in the Sunshine State.

[IMGCAP(1)]The deal will add 102 staff, including 11 partners, from LBA, which ranked 14th on Accounting Today’s Regional Leaders list for the Top Firms in the Gulf Coast region.

The firm dates back 50 years to 1966 and provides accounting and tax services to businesses, particularly in the health care, construction, real estate, manufacturing and nonprofit sectors. The deal also includes the LBA Healthcare Consulting and LBA Retirement Plan Services units.

The Jacksonville office will join BDO's existing offices in Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale, Lakeland, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach and Winter Haven, giving BDO more than 400 professionals in Florida. The deal is expected to close on November 16.

BDO USA has been going through a period of rapid expansion. This is the firm’s seventh M&A deal in the past year. Unlike some of the other deals, LBA wasn’t part of the BDO Alliance. Instead, LBA was formerly a member of the Leading Edge Alliance and BKR International.

BDO saw Jacksonville as a desirable market for expansion. “It’s an area we had to expand in,” said BDO USA CEO Wayne Berson. “The Southeast region was an area we were looking to grow. This helps us considerably in terms of helping round out our Florida footprint. We’ve been well established in Central and South Florida, and the addition of LBA allows us to stretch our footprint now to Northeast Florida.”

Berson told Accounting Today his firm is always looking to gain critical mass in existing major markets, expanded geographic coverage in new strategic markets, and additional resources in an existing industry or service line. “In LBA we’ve added respected and established professional resources in a new market,” he added. “Their industry practices at LBA—health care, construction, real estate—add resources to existing BDO strengths.”

[IMGCAP(2)]“BDO was looking to gain some critical mass in North Florida,” said LBA managing partner Neal Von Stein. “They already have established practices down in South and Central Florida, but they wanted to stretch up to North Florida, and we provided them with that presence up here. For us BDO offered such a vast array of services we could offer our clients in a growing market that we needed to be able to enhance and leverage for our clients. It really is a good marriage of firms. Their culture and our culture are similar, so it’s exciting to see what we can do together.”

LBA will add around $15 million in revenue to BDO’s coffers. BDO USA finished last year with $1.3 billion in annual revenue, and Berson said the firm is on track to reach $1.4 billion in revenue this year.

In the past four years, BDO has expanded quickly, adding offices in 25 new cities and bulking up a dozen existing markets. Berson hopes to expand the firm further in areas like the West Coast, Texas and New York City.

“We are getting contacted by a lot of firms and for us it becomes an issue of working through who makes the most sense, which firm do we want to work with,” said Berson. “So far I can say we’ve got some really very good firms coming in to us.”

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