Azets Ireland to merge with PKF O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes

Tie-up marks an acceleration of consolidation within the Irish accounting sector

Accountancy firm Azets Ireland has agreed to merge with rival PKF O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes in a deal that almost doubles its workforce to 220 and marks an acceleration of consolidation in the sector.

The tie-up with both parties come under the Azets brand, with the firm to be led by Azets Ireland chief executive Neil Hughes and chaired by Donal O’Leary, the current managing partner in PKF O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Azets, a London-based international accounting, audit and advisory group, entered the Irish market almost a year ago with the purchase of Baker Tilly Ireland, where Mr Hughes was in charge.

“By combining our expertise and our teams of talented individuals we are creating a firm of national scale that is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of Ireland’s entrepreneurial, owner-managed, and family-owned businesses,” Mr Hughes said of the merger. “For too long strong mid-sized companies that are on a journey from good to great are often ignored by the big six accountancy firms. This is despite these businesses being the lifeblood of the Irish economy and sustaining more than one million jobs in communities across Ireland.”


The Irish accounting sector has seen a surge in deal-making in the past 12 months as overseas firms, often backed by private equity money, seek to tap into the EU’s fastest growing economy and, paradoxically, an expected increase in debt restructurings as some sectors grapple with the lingering effects of the pandemic, inflation and heightened interest rates.

For small domestic practices the burdens of mounting regulation and compliance, technology costs and succession planning are also driving consolidation conversations in the sector. The pace of deal-making in the Republic is part of a wider trend internationally within the sector.

Last month Dains, a UK accountancy group backed by investment firm Horizons, revealed it had acquired McInerney Saunders Chartered Accountants in Dublin for an undisclosed sum. McInerney Saunders, led by managing partner Owen Sheehy, and which has 55 employees and annual fees running at about €6 million, has been given a mandate by Dains to find merger deals in the market.

ETL Global, a German-based accounting group that entered the Irish market last April by acquiring 51 per cent of the Noone Casey practice in Dublin, following up later in the year with a second deal.

Elsewhere, IFAC Group, a farming and agribusiness accountancy firm, bought corporate restructuring and forensic accounting specialists Friel Stafford during the summer.

Cork accountancy and wealth management firm Quintas was bought in September by UK and Irish group Xeinadin for an undisclosed amount. The deal increased Xeinadin’s Irish headcount by almost 20 per cent to 455.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times