BPM, Long Beach firm call off merger

SANTA ROSA -- Accounting and consulting firm Burr Pilger Mayer, which has an office in Santa Rosa, will no longer merge with a Long Beach-based accountancy, a combination that arguably would have created the largest such company based in California.

Neither San Francisco-based BPM nor Windes & McClaughry Accountancy Corp. disclosed why they called off the plan, first announced in September. It would have created a company with $100 million in revenue, 73 shareholders, 550 employees and 11 offices, according to a release. BPM's last acquisition was the 2009 merger with Santa Rosa’s Andersen & Company, LLP. 

"We are disappointed that we are not able to combine these two firms," BPM managing partner Steve Mayer said in a written statement posted on Windes & McClaughry's website on Friday. "Both organizations worked diligently toward the merger. We just came a little short of the goal line. We wish the Windes team the best and expect to continue to work together on client opportunities."

Last year’s announcement noted that, along with giving BPM a strong foothold in Southern California, an early-2012 merger would expand the company’s expertise. Assets included Windes’ reputation in tax compliance and estate planning, complementing strengths that included BPM’s standing as the nation’s 12th-largest SEC practice.

“We believed that combining both firms was the proper strategic direction, but, unfortunately, we could not come to agreement on all of the key issues,” said John Di Carlo, Windes managing partner, in the statement.

Carol O’Hara, managing shareholder of BPM in Santa Rosa and a member of the firm's board of directors, said the two firms had discussed a possible merger for more than a year. At the end of those talks, the two determined that remaining separate made more sense for their respective operations, she said.

BPM remains optimistic about 2012, despite the change of plans. Frequent meetings through the merger talks have forged a professional relationship that Ms. O’Hara said has already resulted in multiple referrals for the two firms. In the North Bay, Ms. O’Hara said that BPM's gross revenue rose 10 percent in 2011 from 2010.

“We expect that we’ll keep a close relationship with them going forward,” she said.

Ms. O’Hara said that future expansion would proceed “organically” at BPM.

BPM, founded in 1986, currently has six offices in the Bay Area and one in Hong Kong. Windes has four offices in Southern California and has provided consulting services in the state for 85 years.


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