Clifton Gunderson has expanded its presence in New Mexico, acquiring Albuquerque-based Meyners + Co., for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition took effect on Jan. 1, but the two firms actually signed the paperwork on Thursday. This is the seventh acquisition for Milwaukee-based Clifton Gunderson since last May. With the latest acquisition, 58 staff members and five partners from Meyners will be joining Clifton Gunderson, with the sole exception of managing partner Bruce Malott, who will be starting his own practice with a small list of clients.
The acquisition will add $9 million in annual revenue from Meyners to Clifton Gunderson’s Albuquerque office. CEO Kris McMasters estimates that the Albuquerque office will earn about $15 million in annual revenue after the acquisition, while the firm as a whole will have annual revenue of approximately $275 million for its fiscal year ending May 31. The firm ranked 14th on Accounting Today’s 2010 list of the Top 100 Firms.
Besides revenue, the firm will be adding considerable talent in Albuquerque. “Our No. 1 priority from a merger perspective is to supplement our existing locations,” said McMasters. “We’ve had a long and friendly relationship with Meyners. It’s an opportunity to expand our talent and resources.”
While the firms have been friendly rivals for years, the merger process went quickly, McMasters noted. The two firms were in talks for only about 60 days.
Among the areas that Meyners specializes in are public sector consulting and construction, according to Meyners partner Georgie Ortiz. “We have a lot of synergy with Clifton Gunderson,” he said. “They have similar niche industries.”
Allan D. Koltin, CEO of PDI Global, who advised the firms on the deal, said, “For Clifton Gunderson, this makes them a full-service provider in the Albuquerque market as well as a major force in the region as it relates to governmental and not-for-profit work. Meyners had been approached over the past couple of years by virtually every national and mega-regional firm wanting to get into the market, but in the end the Meyners partners chose Clifton because of their culture, track record of successful mergers, and the role they could play in building out the New Mexico market.”
Clifton Gunderson sees an opportunity to expand its Rocky Mountain practice in both New Mexico and Colorado. David Laundy, managing partner of the Rocky Mountain practice, said the firm has been seeing strong economic growth in the region, particularly in sectors such as clean energy technology, such as solar, wind and biofuels.
“Colorado is at the forefront of that, and Meyners has contacts in that area,” he said. “We feel like they can really help this Western Rocky Mountain region.”
Meyners also has a practice niche servicing special governmental districts. New Mexico has passed statutes almost identical to Colorado’s in providing government financing vehicles for development. The two firms share common ground in that area, as well as servicing school districts, public universities and other governmental entities. Other shared niches include real estate, employee benefit plans, service industries, retail, distribution and manufacturing.
Clifton Gunderson has been working to expand strategically and geographically. “We have a very detailed strategic plan,” said McMasters. “We are proactively searching out opportunities to bring in additional talent and resources. We have partners particularly focused on helping us do that. Meyners’ business is a great fit related to this strategy.”
The firm has added more than 200 people from the seven mergers and acquisitions it has done since last May, expanding in six geographic markets. Those include deals to expand into international tax, bring in more people in the forensic accounting specialty in Los Angeles, and expand in Illinois and Pennsylvania.
McMasters acknowledged the firm may be doing more M&A deals later in the year. “We’re always looking for opportunities and are evaluating several opportunities right now,” she said.
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