Business Irish

Friday 20 April 2018

Accountants Grant Thornton to take over smaller rival in challenge to 'Big Four'

Grant Thornton boss Paul McCann will head the company
Grant Thornton boss Paul McCann will head the company
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

Accountancy firm Grant Thornton has moved closer to matching the "Big Four" in Ireland after it agreed a deal to takeover RSM Farrell Grant Sparks.

The deal has been described as a merger between the two companies. In practice, however, the new firm will operate as Grant Thornton and will be led by current Grant Thornton Ireland boss Paul McCann.

The new firm, which is said to be "one of Ireland's largest in audit, tax and advisory practices", will have 750 staff and 51 partners. It will have offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Belfast, Longford and Kildare. Terms of the sale, which is subject to regulatory approval, were not released.

The deal entrenches Grant Thornton as the fifth accountancy firm in the country, behind PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG.

According to industry magazine 'Finance Dublin', Grant Thornton and RSM Farrell Grant Sparks took in aggregate fees of €132.5m last year. That compares to fourth-placed EY, which brought in €166m.

The next biggest firm, BDO, had billings of €55m during the same period.

In a statement, Mr McCann said: "RSM Farrell Grant Sparks is a firm that fits well with the overall culture of Grant Thornton.

"The addition of its accounting expertise, professional experience and diverse clients will see substantial opportunities for Grant Thornton's growth in the Irish market and should result in significant market synergies.

"This consolidation will serve to increase competition within the larger Irish firms, particularly in the areas of audit and taxation, as well as the growing market for corporate finance advisory services," he added.

RSM managing partner Jim Mulqueen said the takeover was "a very positive move for both businesses".

"We see this as a great opportunity to work with like-minded partners and the skill sets within our respective firms complement each other very well.

"All of this provides an enhanced service offering which will provide clients with access to an even greater range and depth of experience and skills," he claimed.

Grant Thornton is the sixth largest accounting network in the world, with member firms in an estimated 130 countries.

Last year Farrell Grant Sparks sold its insolvency business to Duff & Phelps. Grant Thornton already has one of the strongest insolvency franchises in the country.

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