A little bit of fresh news from the LECG implosion as Ernst & Young announced yesterday that it was picking up thirty professionals to add to its insurance tax and life actuarial practices in the firm’s Financial Services Office.
These LECG refugees are led by Chris DesRochers and Greg Stephenson, according to the release, and E&Y is thrilled to have them, “This represents a significant addition of intellectual capital to our insurance tax and actuarial teams,” said Carmine DiSibio, Vice Chair and Managing Partner, Financial Services, Ernst & Young LLP. “We were very fortunate to be able to add so many experienced professionals at one time — additional talent that greatly enhances the breadth and depth of the services we provide.”
After yesterday’s news that LECG that was more or less pulling the plug, Grant Thornton finally put out a press release that they were acquiring a “significant portion” of the company’s business.
GT is taking on 270 employees in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Portland across all its service groups. Naturally, Stephen Chipman is thrilled to share this dynamic news, “We are pleased to welcome these outstanding individuals to Grant Thornton LLP,” SC said, “I am confident that they will fit in perfectly with our people — intellectually curious, talented individuals who want to make a difference with their clients, in their workplace and in their communities.”
Which was a perfect segue into this:
“As I have stated before, our goal is to be the leading audit, tax and advisory firm serving dynamic organizations in our chosen markets,” continued Chipman. “Dynamic companies are companies that are ambitious and growing, expanding internationally. They are dealing with critical events or transactions and are in need of our value-added, integrated service solutions. We will continue to explore additional strategic mergers and acquisitions as our balance sheet is healthy [Ed. note: care to share?] and we are in a position to attract similar talent.”
In other words, GT is still on the prowl for more people to join their party. Any interested parties need to come with dynamism in boatloads.
DoD will officially be April 21, 2011 according to the company’s press release. Obviously whomever’s left will be celebrating the high holiday the night before.
LECG Corporation (NASDAQ: XPRT) announced today that it is terminating its listing on the Nasdaq Global Market as of the close of business on April 21, 2011. The company has previously received notice from Nasdaq that it has failed to maintain a minimum bid price of $1 per share. In light of its current financial condition, the company does not anticipate the minimum bid price for its common stock returning to a level of excess of $1 per share. In addition, in light of its current financial condition and certain publicly-disclosed recent asset sales, the company does not anticipate being able to continue to meet other Nasdaq listing standards in the future. Further, in light of recent resignations, a majority of the members of the Company’s board of directors do not qualify as independent. Following the termination of its listing on Nasdaq, the company intends to terminate its public reporting obligations under the Exchange Act as soon as possible.
Earlier coverage of LECG Implosion:
LECG Fire Sale Continues; San Fran Forensic Accounting Group Joins FTI Consulting
WeiserMazars Moves into Chicago as Part of Acquisition of LECG Units
LECG Selling Off Practice Groups to FTI, Grant Thornton, WeiserMazars
After last week’s news of LECG Corp. selling off pieces of itself to FTI Consulting, Grant Thornton and WeiserMazars, today the company announced that it has also sold its forensic accounting practice in San Francisco to FTI:
Professional services firm LECG Corporation (NASDAQ: XPRT) announced today that it has transitioned its San Francisco forensic accounting practice to FTI Consulting, Inc. The transition involves approximately 25 employees.
Not only that but the pieces left are also up for bid for anyone interested, although common shareholders shouldn’t expect to see anything:
With the advice of its restructuring advisors, LECG continues to negotiate the transition of all practice groups remaining after today’s transaction and transactions disclosed in previous public communications. LECG will use the proceeds from all practice group transitions to repay the $27.8 million in principal outstanding under its credit facility. The company will use the balance of any proceeds to make payments to other creditors. Contractually, if there is any remaining value available to equity holders, it would be first allocated to the company’s outstanding preferred stock. The company believes that the transitions and these transactions will not result in any proceeds for the common shareholders.
The Philly Business Journal reports that the company still has about 500 employees left but at the rate things are going, they’ll be elsewhere by St. Patrick’s Day. Good luck to everyone affected.
LECG Transitions Parts of Forensic Accounting Practice Group to FTI [LECG]
LECG jettisons another practice group, this time in San Francisco [PBJ]
WeiserMazars Moves into Chicago as Part of Acquisition of LECG Units [GC]
Earlier this week, we told you about the fire sale that was going down at LECG Corp. LECG was selling off various units to FTI Consulting, Grant Thornton and WeiserMazars to try and pay down a portion of the $27 or so million that they owed on their credit facility. After speaking with Doug Phillips, the managing partner at WeiserMazars, we have learned that the deal has officially closed and few more details about the units they acquired in the deal, including their move into the Chicago market.
As we reported on Monday, WM is picking up five partners and approximately 40 staff from LECG. Mr Phillips told us that “we are very excited” about the transaction and these professionals will join the commercial and insurance audit practices as well as business advisory services. The majority of the new professionals will be located in the firm’s Horsham, PA location while one partner and approximately ten staff will be located in Chicago.
Mr Phillips told GC that this acquisition strengthens WeiserMazars’s “insurance, commercial and business advisory services, as well as solidifies our presence in the Philadelphia market.” Perhaps more importantly, however, is that “[WeiserMazars] now has a presence in the Chicago marketplace,” Mr Phillips aid. This will mark the 9th location for the firm in a key market for a firm that appears to have some wind in its sails after last year’s combination of Weiser and Mazars. We’ll be keeping an eye on them as things progress after this latest move.
Check out the WeiserMazars press release for more details.
LECG Corporation, a global professional services company that specializes in “global litigation; economics; consulting and business advisory; and governance, assurance, and tax expert services” is spinning off five practice groups to help pay off $27.8 million on a credit facility. Two of the expert groups are going to FTI Consulting, Grant Thornton is picking up two groups and also a third that is being split with WeiserMazars. News of this fire sale has given LECG’s stock price a serious case of the Mondays (bolding is ours).
The tenth amendment to the credit agreement is expected to tion several practice groups to other firms and determines the process for similar transactions in the immediate future. The tenth amendment also will limit how LECG may use its cash until it repays its lenders. The facility matures on March 31, 2011 and approximately $27.8 million is outstanding. Absent sufficient proceeds from the transition of practice groups, the company will not have adequate cash resources to repay amounts outstanding under the facility.
The transaction with FTI Consulting, Inc. involves the transition to that firm of LECG’s International Arbitration and Aviation Competition practices and is expected to be effective today, subject to satisfaction of closing conditions, including the consent of its lenders to the release of liens on certain assets to be transferred. Terms were not disclosed.
The company also signed a letter of intent with Grant Thornton LLP to transition the company’s tax and business consulting groups. Simultaneously, the partners of LECG Partners, LLP, which provide attest services under an alternative practice structure, will continue to provide their professional services with either Grant Thornton LLP or WeiserMazars LLP.
The announced transitions will involve approximately 350 employees in Atlanta, Albany, Cambridge, Chicago, Devon, Harrisburg, Houston, New York, Schaumburg and Washington, DC.
Doug Phillips, Managing Partner of WeiserMazars told GC that the firm is “working to close the agreement” and that it is expected to finalized this afternoon or tomorrow morning. WeiserMazars will assume five partners and 40 professionals and they will be based in their Horsham, Pennsylvania office. Messages left with Grant Thornton, FTI Consulting and LECG were not immediately returned.
These spin-offs are occurring less than a year after LECG merged with Smart Business Advisory & Consulting, however a quick glance at their last three income statements shows drastically dropping revenues from $370.43 million in 2007 to $335.68 mil in 2008 and $263.20 mil for 2009. Cash flow from operations was also trending negatively for the last three years and the company’s equity is dwindling.
By the count in the LECG/Smart press release, the company will have around 300 employees remaining after the transitioning of these practices groups is finalized. Not too good, man.
Despite all this, Deloitte’s most recent audit opinion was a clean one with no indication that the company was having problems. This fire sale of revenue-producing assets tells a very different story and we can’t say that we’d blame anyone that was thinking about rushing for the exits. If you’re in the know, email us and we’ll update you as we learn more.
After poking around a little bit, we have a bit more to share (although more questions seem to persist). A source familiar with the consulting industry informed us that FTI Consulting was very interested in LECG’s European locations however, there’s nothing in the press release that indicates that this was part of the deal, despite the fact, our source said, that Paris is major hub for international arbitrage. Our source speculated that LECG would liquidate in the next 60-90 days which confirmed the thoughts shared with us by a source close to LECG.
One other interesting item of note – Grant Thornton continues its expansion, with the pickup of these tax, advisory and attest groups. It’s not entirely clear what areas in advisory GT picked up here but we’re definitely seeing Stephen Chipman’s dreams of my dynamism (yes, it’s a word) in action.
Joseph DiStefano writes over at PhillyDeals that the deal would “[leave] about 1,000 with LECG in its remaining units.” Our previous number was based on the 650 cited in the March 2010 press release which appears to not have included the number of Smart employees that were added to the headcount.
DiStefano also published portions of a letter that LECG Managing Director John B. Stine II sent to clients:
“I am very excited to report that our tax, compensation & benefits, consulting and certain components of the audit practice of LECG (formerly SMART Business Advisory and Consulting) have joined Grant Thornton in its offices in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Portland, and London.
“Grant Thornton, the sixth largest firm globally, proved to be the best choice among the 11 accounting firms and 6 consulting firms that pursued our team.
“In only 10 days, Grant Thornton went from an initial one-on-one meeting to Board approval and sign-off of a deal that brings over 300 professionals to the firm…
So based on that it sounds like there were a bunch of firms in the mix and Stine gave clients the reasons behind going with GT: “Grant Thornton was the only firm with a similar roster of clients […] in contrast to the numerous local firms that showed enormous interest in doing transactions that cut out geographies or service lines.”