M&A roundup: Four deals, from W. Va. to Mass.

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Brown Edwards to merge in Gibbons & Kawash

Details: Brown Edwards and Gibbons & Kawash are planning to merge, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

The merger is expected to create one of the biggest CPA firms in West Virginia. Financial terms were not disclosed. Brown Edwards, based in Roanoke, Va., ranked No. 7 on Accounting Today’s 2017 Regional Leaders list for the Capital Region, with $33.17 million in annual revenue. Brown Edwards has nine offices, including Charleston and Bluefield, W.Va., while Gibbons & Kawash has been in the Charleston area for the past 25 years. Brown Edwards celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.

“We have known the professionals of Gibbons & Kawash for a very long time,” said Brown Edwards managing partner Jason Hartman in a statement. “In fact, we were both part of the same national alliance and realized early on we had a lot of similar philosophies in our approach to client service and a shared emphasis on professional development.”

With the addition of Gibbons & Kawash, the size of Brown Edwards’ Charleston office will grow to nine partners and 50 associates.

“While we are very proud of the history of Gibbons & Kawash, we also recognized that the next step for our team and clients was to merge with a firm of comparable quality that would enable us to expand services to our clients,” said Gibbons & Kawash managing director Valerie Ellis. “We look forward to staying on the cutting edge of the changes so prevalent in today’s financial and accounting services markets.”


Sax Wealth Advisors acquires GM Financial Group

Details: Sax Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm that is a subsidiary of the accounting firm Sax LLP, has acquired the GM Financial Group LLC, a firm based in Pennington, N.J.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the GM Financial Group’s approximately $140 million of assets under management will bring Sax Wealth Advisors’ level of total AUM to over $1 billion. The newly expanded Sax Wealth Advisors will now include three partners, three wealth advisors, three portfolio advisors, and three members of the client service team. Its parent firm, Sax LLP, ranked No. 22 on Accounting Today’s 2017 Regional Leaders list for the Mid-Atlantic region, with $30 million in annual revenue.

“Finding a firm that shares our same investment philosophies and commitment to personal financial planning along with a strong presence in Central Jersey was an essential component of this selection process,” said Kyle Stawicki, partner-in-charge of Sax Wealth Advisors, in a statement. “GM’s 30-plus years of experience will lend itself to enhancing our strong foundation of individual and corporate wealth management solutions.”

Sax Wealth Advisors plans to keep a presence in Mercer County, N.J., led by GM Financial Group founder Guy McPhail. “As GM looks to the future, we wish to ensure our customized programs and emphasis on client relations remains intact,” he said in a statement. “We believe teaming with Sax Wealth Advisors will only strengthen our inherent objectives.”


Freed and Dardeno combine

Details: Kenneth Freed & Co., an accounting firm based in Boston, merged in the accounting practice of Philip Dardeno, based in Reading, Mass., effective Sept. 29, 2017.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but Dardeno, a CPA and MST, will become a principal in the combined firm. “He is a well-known expert in the Boston area and beyond,” said Freed owner and partner Charles Hulbert, in a statement. “Joining forces is an excellent opportunity, and is mutually beneficial toward succession planning for both parties involved.”

The combined firm will operate under the Kenneth Freed & Co. name out of both the Boston and Reading offices.

The Freed firm dates back to 1979 and focuses on business and trust taxation, advisory services, and third-party attestation. Dardeno’s 25-year-old practice specializes in tax audits, appeals, planning, and state and local tax issues.

Ron Loberfeld, a consultant who specializes in mergers and acquisitions for small and midsized firms, introduced the two firms to each other.


FF&F adds CPI

Details: CPI Associates Inc., a tax advisory firm in Manhattan, has joined Farkouh, Furman & Faccio, a boutique accounting and advisory firm in New York.

Financial details were not disclosed. FF&F was founded in 1974 and assists clients with tax, financial and business matters. “We welcome the CPI team to the FF&F family,” said founding partner Fred Farkouh in a statement. “The expansion of our team will allow us to provide clients with a broader spectrum of services and expertise in a more expansive range of areas.”

CPI specializes in servicing high net worth individuals, trusts and estates. “Both I and the CPI staff are thrilled to be joining FF&F for what will be an exciting new chapter,” said founder Lee Robins in a statement. “It is a great fit because, like FF&F, delivering quality service our clients can trust is the foundation of our firm. Additionally, joining FF&F enables us to offer our clients a number of additional niche services we previously would not have been able to.”

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