Grant Thornton and John Woods merge their operations


Chartered accounting firms Grant Thornton and John Woods are merging to create a firm with 24 partners, more than 250 staff and annual fee income of about £14 million (€17.8 million).

The merged firm will now be "firmly" number seven in size in the Irish market, according to Grant Thornton managing partner Mr Jimmy Murphy.

The enhanced ability of the firm to serve clients as a result of the merger should lead to the creation of more than 100 new professional jobs at Grant Thornton in Dublin over the next five years, he forecast. There would be no redundancies as a result of the merger. Before the merger, Grant Thornton was number seven by fee income and staff numbers, according to the annual Finance magazine survey of accounting firms. It estimated the firm's fee income at £10 million. John Woods is a smaller practice with five partners and 35 staff, which would rank about 17th or 18th in size, according to senior partner Mr John K. Woods.

Both firms specialise in providing services to growth-oriented, owner-managed firms.

The merger would enhance the ability of Grant Thornton to provide a wider range of services in the areas of personal financial planning and corporate finance, according to Mr Murphy.

The merger provided "exciting opportunities for all concerned", according to Mr Woods. The merged firm, which will be known as Grant Thornton, will have offices in Dublin, Limerick and Belfast. Mr Murphy will be managing partner, while Mr Woods will retain the title senior partner.

John K. Woods will leave its Blackrock, Co Dublin offices to move into the Grant Thornton headquarters in Dublin's Tara Street.

The latest merger follows a number of link-ups in the sector.

Mr Murphy said it was different to some of the earlier mergers between Big Five firms in that it was instigated in the domestic market as a strategic link-up between two quite similar firms.