GT and Kidsons wrangle over merger

‘Overlaps in offices and services’ have stalled merger talks with the focus falling on towns where Grant Thornton offices are duplicated by HLB.

But the firms have refused to confirm or deny whether particular HLB offices will be joining Grant Thornton.

Last November the firms announced they were to vote in January with a view to merging on 1 May 2001. There is now no scheduled date for the proposal to be presented to partners, according to a Grant Thornton spokesman.

One party close to the deal said it had proved ‘more complex than envisaged and the costing more painful than at the outset’.

Another source said Grant Thornton’s due diligence examinations had been disappointing.

A vote on the merger can only take place once the proposal has reached the desks of every partner at both firms.

With Grant Thornton’s 42 offices and HLB’s 28, there is an overlap of 16 locations and many reciprocated services.

A spokesman at HLB Kidsons, said the proposal was for growth and to strengthen the services available. ‘It’s incorrect to say particular offices are in or out of the deal,’ HLB’s London office said, adding there would be no redundancies if the merger goes ahead.

The new firm, which will use the Grant Thornton name, will have a combined fee income of Pounds 230m and some 375 partners, making it the sixth largest firm in the UK.


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