"The trend towards concentration is clearly present in audit and consulting firms around the world," Hervé Hélias, CEO of the Mazars group, told Le Figaro. The little Gaul of audit and consulting hopes to overshadow the Anglo-Saxon giants of the Big Four, EY, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG. In order to conquer the American market, Mazars will soon change its dimension, by joining forces with a giant in the sector, Forvis, from 1 June 2024. This player, which has $1.7 billion in revenues in its domestic market, the largest in the sector, will increase the size of the new entity to just under 5 billion euros.
"After eighteen months of discussions, this is a structuring decision for our group that allows us to penetrate the United States more easily. And to consolidate our global position, by multiplying our size by more than one and a half times," says Hervé Hélias. Until now, the United States, through Mazars USA, represented only 10% of the firm's turnover, which is present in a hundred countries. Forvis, on the other hand, was almost absent beyond his borders.
A new global network
It is therefore not a merger, but the creation of a new global network, which allows the two firms to maintain an independent capital structure. The two entities will continue to coexist but under the same Forvis Mazars brand from June 2024. According to the company, 1200% of Mazars' 600,95 partners and Forvis' <> approved the deal.
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Forvis Mazars, which will employ more than 36,000 people worldwide, aims to jointly develop a portfolio of clients, practices and technological tools. The strategy of the new network, ranked in the top 10 worldwide, will be defined in the coming months by a joint governance made up of partners from both entities. The first chairmanship of this network is expected to go to a Mazars executive for three years.
The share of consulting in the Mazars group's activity is set to grow beyond the current 25%, but it will remain very much focused on finance, taxation, HR or IT services for finance departments. Like Mazars, the U.S. firm is careful to maintain a balance in its activities, which are divided into a third of its activities in consulting, one third in auditing and one third in tax services.
However, the rise of the Mazars group will have to deal with the difficulty of recruiting in the sector and the bitter war for talent it is currently experiencing. The Frenchman, which achieved growth of 20% in its last financial year in August 2023, remains cautious about the outlook for 2024 in the face of companies more reluctant to embark on new projects in the current macroeconomic and geopolitical context.