The news emerged as HCW held its agm last week and raises the prospect that the two would have formed a firm with fee income of around £156m – making it the eighth biggest firm in the country.
HCW is still struggling over the loss of its insolvency practice to Tenon, the £58m consolidator at 15th position in the Accountancy Age Top 50.
David Furst, chief executive at HCW, refused to confirm the merger discussions had taken place but said: ‘We speak to lots of people from time to time.’
And on the insolvency practice he added: ‘We are reviewing whether that is a market that we want to get back into or not.’
A review of HCW’s office structure has also been under way and a source close to the firm said the talks had reached ‘an advanced stage’ before they were killed off in January.
Laurence Longe, national managing partner at Baker Tilly, said: ‘We have had exploratory talks with many firms.
‘Strategically we have said we are looking for growth organically and through other means.’
Merger talks between Grant Thornton and HLB Kidsons collapsed earlier this year.
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