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BKD enters major merger deal

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Springfield-based BKD LLP is merging with another large accounting firm to create a combined entity with $1.4 billion in annual revenue.

The combination of BKD and Charlotte, North Carolina-based Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, dba DHG, would create a Top 10 accounting firm in the United States, according to a joint news release from the companies. The combined firm will operate under a new name to be announced at a later date.

“Both of our firms had a strategy. We wanted to truly be a national firm,” said BKD CEO Tom Watson, in an interview with Springfield Business Journal. “It just made a ton of sense to get together and accomplish a national firm footprint coupled with really deep expertise from both firms.”

No money is changing hands in the merger, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter, company officials say. Watson, who became CEO of BKD last year, will serve as chief executive of the combined firm, with DHG CEO Matt Snow set to become its chair. In the interview with SBJ, Snow said there currently are no plans for a central headquarters location. Springfield will remain a key market for the firm, Watson said.

With its $1.4 billion in combined revenue, the entity combining BKD and DHG would rank No. 8 on Inside Public Accounting's list of the top U.S. firms. BKD ranked No. 14 on the 2021 list, with $758.1 million in revenue, and DHG was No. 17, with $504 million in revenue. Combined, BKD and DHG will have more than 5,400 employees spanning 68 markets in 27 states, as well as the United Kingdom and the Cayman Islands. BKD accounts for over 40 of the offices, and DHG brings expertise largely on the East Coast.

The companies have hired an undisclosed marketing firm to help make the decision on the new name, with an announcement expected in around 60 days, Snow said.

“We wanted our partners to vote on the deal and not vote on a name,” Snow said.

A new name for the combined firm will come with a rebranding effort, the executives say. Watson said he was unsure how much the new entity would need to invest in the rebranding process.

Watson said the combined company only would have three overlapping markets in Dallas, Nashville and New York City, which was another appealing aspect to the merger.

“We expect this to be a net increase in our employment over time,” he said, noting there are no plans for layoffs in those markets, as there’s already a need for more client service professionals to serve customers.

Snow said a decision on combining office space in those markets has not yet been made.

“Fortunately, it’s just a few,” he said.

BKD was founded in 1923, and DHG traces its roots back to 1932.

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