Baker Tilly, which has made no secret of its intention to expand both organically and through merger, this week admitted discussions had taken place but emphasised a deal had not yet been reached.
If a deal was brokered, the new firm would take eighth place in the Accountancy Age Top 50 league table, with 280 partners.
Laurence Longe, national managing partner at Baker Tilly, said: ‘We have held open exploratory talks with HLB Kidsons, as we have from time to time with other firms. The market is profoundly changing and it would be odd if we were not making such inquiries. However, such conversations do not always lead to a merger.’
A Kidsons spokesman said: ‘There is a lot of discussion in the market. We have had a numbers of conversations including with Baker Tilly.’
HLB’s action marks a u-turn in its policy of not seeking a national merger after the failure of its attempted merger with Grant Thornton earlier this year.Ray Greatorex, national managing partner, said then that HLB’s policy would be to seek growth through organic means or local mergers only.
When HLB attempted the Grant Thornton merger it emerged that not all offices of the firm would be included. The latest talks come months after it was learned merger discussions between Baker Tilly and Horwath Clark Whitehill had fallen apart.
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