Schneider Downs & Co. Inc., with offices in Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, announced a deal to merge with BKR Longanbach Giusti LLC, another Columbus-based accounting firm.

The transaction, which was expected to be completed in August, will expand Schneider Downs' Columbus office with the addition of 22 professionals, including five shareholders. The combined group will be known as Schneider Downs and will soon be relocated to new Columbus offices.

According to the company, the merger ratchets Schneider Downs up the ranks of the city's largest accounting firms, and poises the firm for additional growth.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Further expansion into Central Ohio and the tri-state area in general will be an early priority for our combined firm," said Schneider Downs shareholder Doug Mayr, in a statement.

According to a statement from Schneider Downs' chief executive Ray W. Buehler, the decision to merge with BKR Longanbach Giusti was a well-researched one.

"This merger enhances our ability to meet the firm's strategic growth objectives," he said. "We've discussed the possibility of a merger for years, carefully considering our options. Partnering with BKR Longanbach Giusti LLC is the best way to improve client service and serve a wider range of clients."

Founded in Pittsburgh in 1956, Schneider Downs opened its Columbus office in 1989. Within the two offices, Schneider Downs currently has over 250 personnel, including 22 shareholders, servicing private and publicly traded companies, as well as nonprofit entities. Schneider Downs ranked No. 70 on Accounting Today's 2005 list of Top 100 Firms, with revenues of $27.5 million.

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