Crowe Chizek and Co. LLC announced that it will combine practices with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Madsen Sapp Mena Rodriguez & Co. CPAs & Advisors.

Terms of the merger, which becomes effective May 1, were not disclosed. MSMR will operate under the Crowe Chizek brand.

"We've been planning to expand in the south Florida market," said Crowe's chief executive Mark Hildebrand, in a statement. Crowe first opened a location in the area in 1985.

MSMR has a strong construction and manufacturing practice, which complements two of Crowe's industry specializations. MSMR was founded in 1926 and has concentrated on family-owned and midsized businesses, providing traditional accounting services as well as business advice. The firm also provides resources to serve Latin America businesses, a key element in the execution of Crowe's growth strategy for the region.

MSMR president and chief executive Ray Rodriguez said the deal gives his firm's clients access to network of resources, including mergers and acquisitions assistance, wealth management, risk consulting and performance management. Rodriguez will continue in a significant leadership role in Crowe's commercial practice in South Florida and all 24 of MSMR's professionals and partners will join Crowe.

Florida locations for the combined practice include Crowe's existing locations in Fort Lauderdale, Lake Worth and Tampa, as well as MSMR's current office at Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Crowe's staff based in south Florida staff will now number more than 100.

Crowe's parent company, the Crowe Group, ranked No. 12 on Accounting Today's 2005 list of Top 100 Firms, with revenues of $286 million.

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