CPA firm WithumSmith+Brown is expanding its footprint from New Jersey to New York by merging in EisnerLubin.

The Princeton, N.J.-based firm already has many clients in New York City, and has been on the lookout for a merger partner. As a result of the merger, 50 people are joining the firm, including nine partners.

“We’ve been looking for someone in New York for a number of years now,” managing partner Bill Hagaman told Accounting Today. “We felt they were an excellent match with our culture. Not-for-profit, manufacturing and real estate are their primary industries, and fit well with our top niches. And in addition they’ve got a lot of talent in the trust and estate services area that will add to the overall offerings of our firm.”

He said EisnerLubin would add $11.6 million in revenue to his firm, which currently earns $76.7 million in annual revenue, for a combined total of approximately $88 million next year. The merger takes effect immediately but will be announced Monday. WS+B ranked 35th on Accounting Today’s 2011 list of the Top 100 Firms.

“This deal happened for all the right reasons,” said Philip Whitman of Whitman Business Advisors, who facilitated the merger, starting with a lunch meeting about a year ago. “EisnerLubin has been in business for almost 90 years. They’re an old-line firm, and in their history they’re only on their third managing partner.”

He was also involved in helping WS+B get a foothold in Florida last month. The firm hired partner Wendy Terry, who will be spearheading the effort to open an office in downtown Orlando early next year.

In the case of EisnerLubin, WS+B met with the executive committee—managing partner Bob Simon and partners Mike Stallone and Bob Demmett—and they negotiated a deal that will give the New York partners some degree of autonomy. Under the deal, Simon will become partner-in-charge of the New York office. However, some of WS+B’s partners will also now be working in the New York office.

“We’ve been meeting with them for a little more than a year,” said Hagaman. “I felt the primary factor was the makeup and culture of the firms. We’re going to have some of our partners going to New York to work full time, and the current managing partner, Bob Simon, will be the partner-in-charge.”

To celebrate the merger, WS+B staffers traveled to New York last week. “I believe this is the biggest accounting deal in New York City this year,” said Whitman.

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