‘No merger plans’ says defiant HLB

Ray Greatorex, national managing partner, revealed that three days after announcing the planned merger between the two firms was off, a special management meeting decided HLB had to use other strategies.

The firm will now seek organic growth or capitalise on opportunities for localised mergers that would bring small firms on board.

‘We have got to have a period of certainty and we have got to press on. This is not to rule out some local mergers where it makes sense,’ said Greatorex.

He said the deal between the two firms, which had been under discussion since June last year, floundered because ‘there were strategic issues that we could not readily overcome’.

Grant Thornton had proposed that not all HLB offices be included in the deal. It was an obstacle that proved impossible to overcome.

HLB offices became the target of other mid-tier firms seeking to poach teams and partners. Despite offers, Greatorex denies any negotiations followed. He defended the decision to push ahead with a merger.

‘When someone like Grant Thornton approaches you it must be attractive. We were a smaller firm and it seemed to me it was worth pursuing,’ he said.

He said he was intent on staying in post for the remainder of his four-year term and had the full support of the firm.


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