Grant Thornton Australia confirmed
it is in merger talks with several firms in an effort to grow
annual revenue past the A$300 million ($270 million) mark.

Australia’s seventh-largest firm reported
revenue of A$158 million in the year to 30 June 2009, which was
A$42 million less than rival BDO.

It has been a long-stated goal of Grant
Thornton’s to increase revenue to A$300 million by 2011, and growth
by M&A would be the only realistic way to achieve this.

Grant Thornton Australia chief executive
Robert Quant would not reveal the identity of potential merger
partners, but PKF Australia has been suggested as a possible
candidate.

“In the past 12 months to 18 months we have
had conversations with several firms. While some of these have been
productive and encouraging, at this stage we will not be making any
formal announcements,” Quant commented.

“We will continue to talk to those firms which
share our commitment to provide clients with seamless, high-quality
service and which can enhance our ability to extend our national
reach across all our service lines.”

Details of accounting firm mergers are rarely
leaked to the public before negotiations are at an advanced stage
or a deal has been struck in principle.

PKF Australia reported revenue of A$136
million in its most recent fiscal year. A marriage between the two
firms, coupled with marginal organic growth, could power the
revenue of a combined entity to A$300 million. This would be the
sixth largest accounting organisation in Australia, behind the Big
Four and WHK Group.

Other large mid-tier market players include
Baker Tilly Pitcher Partners (A$145 million), Moore Stephens
Australia (A$112 million) and RSM Bird Cameron (A$111 million).

PKF Australia said it was open to mergers but
has no specific targets.