Midwestern accounting and consulting powerhouse Virchow, Krause & Co. is kicking off the New Year by flexing its acquisition muscle.

The top-ranked firm has expanded its Detroit area presence with the merger of Zalenko & Associates PC, a $6 million firm based in Southfield, Mich., to its fold.

As part of the deal, Virchow Krasue picks up one office and 35 employees, including eight partners, giving it a total of $129.1 million in revenue, 13 offices, and a staff of more than 1,000, including 146 partners.

The merger marks Virchow Krause's fourth since July 2004. The firm, which made acquisitions in Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis last year, entered the Detroit market in November 2003 via a merger with Bingham Farms-based Nemes Allen & Co.

Noting that the firm has an "aggressive growth strategy" planned for the Detroit market, Virchow Krause chief executive Tim Christen said that the merger with Zalenko & Associates puts it closer to reaching its goal of having more than 200 employees in Detroit by 2007.

Zalenko & Associates focuses on serving many of the same industries as Virchow Krause's existing Detroit office -- real estate and property management; wholesale and retail; distribution; service industries; construction and manufacturing; and medical and legal practitioners. The firm also serves automotive suppliers.

Zalenko's partners and staff will operate under the Virchow Krause moniker from their existing location in Southfield.

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