Marcum & Kliegman LLP is combining forces with Rachlin LLP, expanding the New York firm’s presence to Rachlin’s home base in Florida.

The merger is set to take effect June 1. Financial terms were not disclosed. Once the merger goes into effect, Marcum & Kliegman LLP will change its name to Marcum LLP in the Northeast and MarcumRachlin, a division of Marcum LLP, in the South. The combined firm will have more than 800 professionals, including 84 partners, in 10 locations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida and Grand Cayman.

Expansion of both locations and services is the main reason behind the merger. “South Florida is a market we had identified to expand into,” said Jeffrey M. Weiner, managing partner of Marcum LLP and chairman and CEO of the Marcum Group. “Rachlin also does a couple of things we hadn’t done before. One was municipal government audit work, and the other was not-for-profit. It adds two new specialties we didn’t have before.” Rachlin, like Marcum, also does SEC work and has many clients in private companies.

The two firms began talks last June. Weiner (pictured) met Rachlin’s managing partner, Lawrence Blum, through management consultant Jay Nisberg, who facilitated the merger. Blum will now become managing partner of MarcumRachlin, putting him in charge of the combined firm’s southern region. Weiner plans to keep the existing staff in place there.

“I had met with some of the partners at Rachlin and realized that they were looking for an opportunity to take their firm to the next level and, in the process, it became very apparent to me that the most suitable cultural fit for Rachlin would be with Marcum and Kliegman,” said Nisberg.

He has been a strategic advisor and consultant with Marcum for the past 10 years and knew they were interested in expanding to the south. “Once it became apparent to me that both parties had an interest and that the cultures would blend very successfully, I introduced the two managing partners,” said Nisberg. “This amalgamation should provide a sphere of influence on the East Coast utilizing both firms’ skill sets. Both Marcum and Rachlin have an extraordinary depth in human capital and will synergistically respond quite well to each other, so I believe it was a fortuitous merger that will leverage both firms’ capabilities to a much higher level.”

“We think the Rachlin name has a lot of goodwill down in Florida,” said Weiner. “They have very good people and we’re just going to work together. We’re not going to send a lot of people down there. They’ve been in business for over 50 years.” Rachlin has four offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and West Palm Beach.

Marcum had $182.56 million in revenue in 2008, and Rachlin had $40 million. They ranked No. 20 and No. 76, respectively, on Accounting Today’s 2009 list of the Top 100 Firms.

“The amazing story here is another example of a mega-regional going national,” said Allan Koltin, CEO of the Chicago consultancy PDI Global, who has worked with Marcum on other mergers. “Over the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of firms with strong niches like Crowe, Rothstein Kass and Reznick, and also a full-service firm like J.H. Cohn, going national.”

Koltin predicted that Marcum would expand by the end of next year to other parts of the country, including the Los Angeles and Chicago markets. He pointed out that Weiner is also CEO of Ludlum Entertainment, which has been working with Universal on turning some of Robert Ludlum’s best-selling spy thrillers into movies such as “The Bourne Identity” and “The Bourne Supremacy.” Weiner is also executor of the late author’s estate.

“What that means to Jeff Weiner is that he’s going to spend a lot of time in LA,” said Koltin. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he opens up in LA. I asked him how he’s going to pull this all off, and he said, ‘I have great leadership nationally and internally, and every time we do a merger we pick up more great leadership.’ That seems to be a model that’s really working.”

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