EisnerAmper is merging in Harb, Levy & Weiland, expanding the New York-based firm’s presence to California, Illinois and India.

The merger is expected to take effect on March 1. After the merger, Harb Levy staff will continue to work out of their offices in San Francisco, Chicago and Mumbai. EisnerAmper currently has 10 offices in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Cayman Islands. The combined firm will have annual revenues of over $270 million, and approximately 180 partners and 1,300 employees. Of those, HLW is contributing 10 active partners and approximately 85 employees, who are all expected to be retained by the combined firm.

[IMGCAP(1)]EisnerAmper is itself the product of a merger in August 2010 between Eisner LLP and Amper, Politziner & Mattia LLP (see Eisner Merges with Amper, Politziner & Mattia). The firm ranked 13th on Accounting Today’s 2011 list of the Top 100 Firms. The firm recently reported annual revenue of approximately $255 million before the latest merger, while HLW has approximately $18 million to $20 million in annual revenue. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

“This merger allows the combined firm to serve clients better,” said EisnerAmper CEO Charly Weinstein. “We’ll have broader capabilities, deeper expertise and more resources, specifically in some of our complementary service areas, such as the financial services industry, high net worth individuals, and real estate—very key growth areas for both firms—and now we have more resources and more talent to bring to our clients. This merger also creates scale for our fund administration practices. Both firms have an outsourcing practice with the financial services industry, primarily in fund administration. By putting these two firms together, we create great scale for all of our clients who are fund administration clients.”

He noted that HLW managing partner John M. Williamson has been trying for many years to “crack” the New York City market, while Eisner Amper has been trying for many years to enter the San Francisco market. “This is just so complementary for both firms,” said Weinstein. In one fell swoop, between New York, Chicago, and San Francisco on a national level, and then adding Mumbai and the Cayman Islands on an international level, we really become a firm of choice for clients in the financial services industry. We hope to take advantage of our presence in most of the key geographic markets for the capital-raising industries.”

The two firms have known each other for a number of years, according to Williamson, even though they have been part of different firm networks and associations. HLW is a member of the Nexia International network, while EisnerAmper is a member of PKF International. The combined firm will remain with PKF. Still, the firm leaders saw reason for a good fit between them.

[IMGCAP(2)]“We shared cultures of collegiality, and we’ve known each other because both firms have a concentration on high-quality client services, not only in the financial services area, but across the line, including family offices, high net worth individuals and real estate,” said Williamson. 

The firms didn’t use any outside consultants, but many of the partners in EisnerAmper knew partners at HLW from being in the marketplace over the years and from industry conferences, Williamson noted. “There was a great amount of respect and affinity between the partners,” he added. “That’s really what led to beginning discussions and putting the two firms together. We were just very respectful and admiring competitors, and there’s a great deal of trust between the firms right out of the box.”

The combined firm plans to concentrate on expanding its presence servicing the technology industry in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, New York, and the Route 128 corridor near Boston, including new media, biotech and telecommunications companies. There may be further mergers ahead.

“This merger is in keeping with the strategic plan for EisnerAmper,” said Weinstein. “Our strategy is to grow in the Northeast and to opportunistically work with great firms in the target markets that we service, like the financial services industry and high net worth. In those target industries that we serve, we are looking to extend our geographic footprint.”

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