Chicago (Jan. 12, 2004) -- Mega-regional CPA firm Plante & Moran, with offices in Michigan and Ohio, may expand to Chicago as it is close to completing a merger with Gleeson, Sklar, Sawyers & Cumpata.

The proposed combination would create a combined firm with annual revenue of nearly $200 million and more than 630 accounting, tax and consulting professionals in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

GSS&C managing partner George Cumpata on Friday confirmed that the two firms have been in discussions since the early fall and are close to finalizing a deal, though he declined to disclose terms or exactly when the union would be complete.

“This news did leak out, so we are talking sooner than we wanted to, but we are enough along in deal that we are down to crossing T’s and dotting I’s,” Cumpata said. “Plante is a very high-end quality firm from the Midwest that I’ve gotten to know over the years. I can even say that part of my business model is somewhat modeled after them.”

Cumpata also said that his firm had been in merger discussions with several larger firms over the past six years, and though it has been “a valuable learning experience,” discussions never went far.

Calls to Plante & Moran were not returned by press time.

Allan Koltin, president of Chicago-based PDI Global, said that the proposed union brings clear advantages for both firms. “For one, you will have Plante in Chicago, a market that lost several local firms to consolidators over the past five years and, as such, has left a void in servicing large and mid-market private companies,” Koltin said. “For Gleeson it would clearly add more depth and resources.”

The deal will expand GSS&C’s offerings to include health care, banking and finance. The firm employs more than 130 professionals, including 17 partners, in its three locations in Chicago, Aurora and Elgin, Ill. Gleeson caters mainly to privately owned businesses with annual sales of $5 million to $50 million in manufacturing, distribution and real estate.

Plante & Moran reported $174.01 million in revenue for the fiscal year ended in June 2003, and 1,164 total employees, including 156 partners.

-- Seth Fineberg

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