KPMG Australia is set to merge with advisory and restructuring firm Ferrier Hodgson, to create one of the largest restructuring services and forensic advisory businesses in the country.

KPMG will acquire Ferrier Hodgson businesses located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Discussions are also at an advanced stage with the Adelaide office.

The merged business will be co-led by KPMG Australia’s national head of restructuring services Matthew Woods and Ferrier Hodgson practice leader James Stewart.

The new combined business will include 27 partners and more than 200 professional staff across Australia.

KPMG Australia CEO Gary Wingrove said: “The Ferrier Hodgson team is very experienced, with a great reputation, and we are delighted to be welcoming them to the firm. The rationale for a merger was compelling, with KPMG our operations with Ferrier Hodgson will immediately and significantly strengthen the breadth and level of service we can offer our clients in the restructuring and forensic advisory sphere.”

“Traditionally, KPMG has always focused on the turnaround and restructuring side of the practice, which has enjoyed sound growth year-on-year for the past five years. But we haven’t had the capacity to meet the market opportunity – until now. This merger builds great scale and capability, quickly, making us a highly competitive force.”

Stewart said: “Strategically, the merger gives our team immediate access to a diverse range of skill sets to better engineer operational turnaround and add a lot more value to clients. This is something we were already building organically through our Azurium consulting business but the merger represents a step-change in our capability, allowing us to respond to market demand for more holistic solutions to financial stress and organisational change.”

“The merger with KPMG will provide our clients with the benefits of over 40 years of Ferrier Hodgson’s restructuring and forensic experience, combined with new opportunities afforded by a market-leading, diversified and international firm.”

The merger agreement was signed 14 March and is expected to be completed by 30 June 2019.