BDO to merge with Moore Stephens

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BDO to merge with Moore Stephens

Wenqian Zeng

28/11/18

 

Merger Details: BDO LLP

Binder Dijker Otte LLP is an accountancy and business advisory firm offering advisory, audit & assurance, tax services. It is the UK member of BDO Global. There have a wide range of industry specialists including financial services, health care, private equity, public sector, real estate etc to provide the best advice for businesses to grow.

Founded in: 1964

Headquartered in: Brussels, Belgium

CEO: Keith Farlinger

Number of employees: 74,000 worldwide and 4000 in UK1

Market Cap: N/A

Enterprise value : (private)

LTM Revenue: Global – US $8.1 billion, UK – £456 million1

LTM EBITDA: (private)

LTM EV/Revenue: (private)

LTM EV/EBITDA: approx. 10.1x[2]

 

Merger Details: Moore Stephens LLP

A member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited which consists of a global accountancy and advisory network. The company’s line of business includes “managing audits and dealing with multi-jurisdictional tax matters of multinational operations”[3]

Founded in: 1907

Headquartered in: London, UK

Chairman: Richard Moore

CEO: Anton Colella

Number of employees: 30,000 worldwide and 2000+ UK3

Market Cap: (private)

Enterprise value: (private)

LTM Revenue: Global – £2.9 billion, UK – £181.4 million3

LTM EBITDA: (private)

LTM EV/Revenue: (private)

LTM EV/EBITDA: (private)

(Companies’ details can be found above)

 

On 26th November, BDO has confirmed advanced merger talks with its rival Moore Stephens in an effort to build the fifth largest auditor in the UK capable of advising FTSE 100 firms. The deal will be sealed in Spring 2019[4]as partners of both firms have approved and the final contract is in the making. The new firm will remain under BDO’s umbrella.

If approved, the new firm will surpass Grant Thornton as it will have a combined revenue of £590 million[4] compared to GT’s £500 million revenue last year[5], however, this is only a quarter of KPMG UK’s £2 billion revenue[6]showing that it is still far behind the ‘Big Four’ – KPMG, PwC, Deloitte and EY – if it is to strive to compete with them. Paul Eagland, the managing director of BDO UK dressed this competition by claiming BDO is “not chasing the Big Four” and does not want “to become a version of those businesses”[7] although targeting FTSE 100 is heavily considered. Nevertheless, it is the move necessary to become the leader in advising UK’s mid-sized businesses, creating a more powerful firm in the competitive market and allowing them to obtain a bigger market share.

According to Financial Times[7], BDO will boost its partners to about 264 and employ 5000 staff in UK4. It is rather clear that the deal will bring benefits to both firms, BDO will be placed as the biggest and first choice auditor of AIM listed companies and the third biggest of all companies listed on the London Stock Exchange[8]– further flourishing its profitable areas. The merge may also be a source of protection from Brexit as the two forces merge to prepare for the strong likelihood of unforeseen consequences.

The deal also comes in a critical time as the audit sector has recently faced scrutiny from parliament regarding a series of scandals, these include PwC’s misleading audit of BHS and the collapse of Carillion due to KPMG. The tense environment in the “broken”[5] industry may not seem to be the best time for a transformative announcement yet Eagland emphasised the opportunity the scandals have opened for the firms as the deal takes advantage of the competitive market[4]  by proliferating their commitment and credibility compared to the reputable industry giants and hopefully even temper their recent behaviours. However, bringing two rivals together tend to have a number of consequences, with two different company culture and client bases, it will be interesting to see how the merge plays out and how much pressure the deal will put on the top four firms.

 

Bibliography:

[1]Bdo.co.uk. (2018). BDO and Moore Stephens in advanced merger discussions. [online] Available at: https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2018/bdo-and-moore-stephens-in-advanced-merger-discussions [Accessed 28 Nov. 2018].

[2]Bdo.co.uk. (2018). PCPIQ4. [online] Available at: https://www.bdo.co.uk/getmedia/3681891c-0eb7-40ff-b798-911443dd43eb/HB010358_Private_Company_Price_Index_(PCPI)_Q4_FINAL.pdf.aspx [Accessed 28 Nov. 2018].

[3]Moorestephens.com. (2018). About — Moore Stephens International – global accountancy and advisory network. [online] Available at: https://www.moorestephens.com/about [Accessed 28 Nov. 2018].

[4]McLoughlin, B. (2018). BDO to merge with Moore Stephens – Accountancy Age. [online] Accountancy Age. Available at: https://www.accountancyage.com/2018/11/26/bdo-to-merge-with-moore-stephens/ [Accessed 28 Nov. 2018].

[5]  the Guardian. (2018). Moore Stephens and BDO merger could pile pressure on big four. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/nov/25/moore-stephens-and-bdo-merger-could-pile-pressure-on-big-four [Accessed 28 Nov. 2018].

[6]KPMG. (2018). KPMG UK reports record revenues for FY17. [online] Available at: https://home.kpmg.com/uk/en/home/media/press-releases/2017/12/kpmg-uk-reports-record-revenues-for-fy17.html [Accessed 28 Nov. 2018].

[7]Marriage, M. (2018). BDO set to become UK’s fifth-largest accountancy firm | Financial Times. [online] Ft.com. Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/4bedea66-efdc-11e8-ae55-df4bf40f9d0d [Accessed 28 Nov. 2018].

[8]Lynch, R. (2018). Deal-hungry BDO on the hunt after sealing merger with Moore Stephens. [online] Evening Standard. Available at: https://www.standard.co.uk/business/dealhungry-bdo-on-the-hunt-after-sealing-merger-with-moore-stephens-a4000151.html [Accessed 28 Nov. 2018].

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