Fresh off a relocation of its headquarters from Richmond to Raleigh, one of the region’s largest accounting firms has taken on a private equity backer for the first time in its history.
Cherry Bekaert announced on June 30 a deal with Boston-based Parthenon Capital for an undisclosed sum of funding.
While Cherry Bekaert would not comment on the terms of the deal, it said the transaction did not require giving Parthenon a majority stake.
It said the investment will accelerate its growth, which in recent years has been fueled by acquisitions, and allow for investment in technology, infrastructure and other areas.
“Cherry Bekaert is receiving a strategic investment to continue to grow our business. We are excited about the additional investment and resources Parthenon is committing to boost our services and potential offerings for an enhanced client experience,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
The deal involves splitting Cherry Bekaert into two entities, Cherry Bekaert LLP for its accounting and auditing business and Cherry Bekaert Advisory LLC for its consulting business.
Michelle Thompson, the current CEO of the overall firm, will become CEO of the advisory side. Collin Hill, who already had been managing partner on the LLP side, will become managing partner of the CPA operations.
The Parthenon transaction comes on the heels of Cherry Bekaert shifting the technical location of its headquarters from Richmond to Raleigh, North Carolina.
Founded originally in Wilmington, North Carolina, Cherry Bekaert had for years been based in Richmond by virtue of previous longtime CEO and managing partner Howard Kies being based here.
Kies was succeeded in 2018 by Thompson, who is now based in the firm’s Raleigh office. That prompted the move earlier this year to give the Raleigh office the headquarters tag, the firm said. Hill also is based in Raleigh.
The firm said the structuring of the Parthenon deal and the headquarters shift has had little impact on its Richmond operations.
‘Our Richmond operations remain the same size and includes many of our shared services employees (back-office functions). This has and will not change our presence in Richmond and the clients we serve there locally.”
With more than 150 employees, the firm’s Richmond office is among its largest. It said it also is in the midst of renovating its downtown Richmond office in the Williams Mullen Center.
Firm-wide it has more than 1,500 employees in two dozen offices in nine states and Washington, D.C.
Cherry Bekaert was represented in the Parthenon deal by legal counsel Hunton Andrews Kurth and financial advisor Guggenheim Securities. Parthenon was represented by Kirkland & Ellis and BakerHostetler.