Top 100 Firm Moss Adams, LLP agreed to merge with Rabanal & Smith, LLP for an undisclosed amount. The transaction is expected to close on Aug. 1.
Moss Adams already works with more than 200 wineries and vineyards in California, Oregon and Washington through its Wine Industry Group. The combination will allow the firm to tap deeper into Napa where Rabanal & Smith serves its clients.
“We have been looking at establishing a presence in Napa for several years, but when the economy collapsed we put it on hold,” Jeff Gutsch, partner and Moss Adams wine group head, told Accounting Today.
Rabanal & Smith was formed after the firm's founders parted ways from Motto, Kryla & Fisher LLP nearly nine years ago. After the split, the firm’s partners, Jennifer Rabanal and Amy Smith, realized that there was still a need for audits, reviews, tax preparation and other compliance services in Napa Valley’s wine industry.
Given that there were only two partners in the firm, Gutsch said Rabanal & Smith started to consider succession plans and serious discussions for a merger kicked off about a year ago.
“By joining forces with Moss Adams, we are increasing our professional network and expanding the level of services, capabilities and expertise available to our clients,” Smith said in a statement. The rest of the Rabanal & Smith team will also join Moss Adams. Team members include Adolfo Medved, Gordon Rickman, Jeneen Villanueva and Wendy Couch.
Moss Adams intends to add more employees to the Napa office in the coming months and will start by hiring staff accountants, said Gutsch.
As for more acquisitions of accounting firms serving the wine industry, Gutsch said he’s not sure. “We are pretty selective about the firms we do business with because they have to be a good fit," he said. "We aren’t looking to grow for growth's sake.”
Rabanal & Smith worked with the Napa-based law offices of Gaw Van Male Smith Myers & Reynolds to handle legal matters on the merger, with Wyman Smith as the lead attorney. Moss Adams used its own internal legal counsel on the transaction.
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