Crowe Horwath is expanding to New York City by combining practices with Hays Co. LLP.

David Lifson, a former president of the New York State Society of CPAs, and Ed Kuzmarski lead the current team of approximately 50 professionals at Hays, who will be working from Crowe’s new Madison Avenue offices. The merger is expected to close in the late spring. Financial details were not disclosed.

Crowe’s revenue for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008, was $492 million, according to spokesperson Jan Lippman. The firm ranked ninth on Accounting Today’s 2008 list of the Top 100 Firms.

“This is another step to accomplishing our vision of becoming a national firm that is globally recognized and will firmly establish Crowe’s entry into the New York market,” said Crowe CEO Chuck Allen (pictured) in a statement. “While we currently have an East Coast presence with offices in Livingston, N.J., and Philadelphia, we believe that having a presence in Manhattan will enhance our ability to serve the needs of our New York clients. It also allows us greater opportunities to create new relationships in the market through the strong connections of Lifson, Kuczmarski and their team in New York.”

“It was an evolutionary decision,” said Lifson. “It was an incredible opportunity to keep our New York practice intact as Crowe has no significant New York presence, and to access the depth of resources available in a firm like Crowe’s, especially in the banking, broker dealer, private equity and related financial sectors.”

He said that all of Hays' employees are expected to remain with the combined firm, and all of Hays' partners will become Crowe partners in June. The Hays partnership will be wound down in the professional services business, but the partners will retain their interests in a separate investment partnership.

The process of considering a combination with another firm began when Hays partners undertook a strategic planning process in November 2007. They looked at a range of six possibilities for the long-term future of the firm, which included merging with another firm, purchasing another firm and pursuing other business opportunities. The discussions with Crowe started in March 2008 and took on steam later that spring. The firm has undergone these types of long-range planning discussions in the past, going back 15 and 30 years ago.

"This was our last chance to figure out what we were going to do over the next 10 or 15 years," said Lifson. "Certainly you want to think about it before those times pass."

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