DLA Piper and RPC scoop Grant Thornton merger

Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) and DLA Piper have scooped lead roles on a merger that aims to shake up the Big Four accountants’ stranglehold on the market.

Grant Thornton turned to RPC and DLA Piper is advising RSM Robson Rhodes in the accountants’ plan to combine to form the fifth-largest accountants in the UK by turnover, which should stand at £360m, with an aim to rise this to £500m over three years.

At RPC, corporate partners Tim Anderson and Barry Stimpson are leading the team. RPC’s relationship with Grant Thornton goes back years, stemming from links between senior partner Tim Brown and the accountant’s head of legal, Lawrence Kehoe. Grant Thornton is the auditor of choice for Eversheds, among others.

Meanwhile, DLA Piper’s UK head of corporate David Raff is leading the team for RSM, a new client. Corporate finance head Alex Tamlyn said that the firm had been approached by RSM, who were impressed by DLA Piper’s own expansion and integration efforts, skills that will be needed to combine Grant Thornton and RSM.

“It involved mergers of our own, integrating professionals from different homes,” said Tamlyn.

RPC’s Anderson told The Lawyer: “Mergers between LLPs are rare, so this will be an interesting deal to work on because it’s not a boilerplate M&A deal.”

The accountants are to understood to have working capital lent by banks which have not yet been made public. These banks have not yet instructed separate counsel.