Accounting firms Wipfli and Eide Bailly have called off plans for a merger.

The two firms said Friday in a joint announcement that they have decided not to proceed with the proposed merger and would instead continue to operate as separate CPA firms. Eide Bailly managing partner and CEO Jerry Topp and Wipfli managing partner and CEO Rick Dreher said the firms decided to amicably discontinue merger discussions because they could not come to an agreement on key terms

[IMGCAP(1)]“We have tremendous respect for Eide Bailly, its partners and staff,” said Dreher in a statement. “In the end, each firm decided it was more appropriate to remain independent.”

The two firms had announced the merger last month, with plans to complete the combination in June (see Eide Bailly and Wipfli to Merge in June). The merger would have created a firm to be known as EB Wipfli, with annual revenue of more than $314 million and 2,327 partners and associates, serving more than 70,000 clients from 41 offices across the West and Midwest, along with two offices in India. Under the proposed agreement, Topp was to become the chairman of EB Wipfli, while Dreher would retain his title of managing partner and CEO.

[IMGCAP(2)]“Wipfli and Eide Bailly are two very successful firms serving distinct markets,” said Topp. “We were friendly competitors before, and we will continue to be friendly competitors in the marketplace as we move forward.”

Fargo, N.D.-based Eide Bailly ranked 24th on Accounting Today’s list of the Top 100 Firms, while Milwaukee-based Wipfli ranked 26th.

Shortly before the two firms announced the breakup of the deal, Topp sent a memo to Eide Bailly staff informing them of the cancellation of the merger, according to the blog Going Concern. “When we started this process I stated, ‘We do not have to do this deal, however it is an opportunity we feel we need to explore.’ We have done that and have decided to take a pass,” he wrote. “We will learn from this, make changes to our firm and continue on with the strong 'Eide Bailly' brand we have created.”

Earlier this month, another pair of firms, Burr Pilger Mayer and Windes & McClaughry, also canceled their merger plans (see BPM and Windes Call off Merger).

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