CBIZ Completes Big Deal, Says More May Follow

CBIZ, the Cleveland-based business services firm affiliated with national CPA firm Mayer Hoffman McCann of Kansas City, has begun 2006 much like it started 2005—completing a major acquisition. More significantly, the company formerly known as Century Business Services, is indicating more deals may follow this year.

On January 1, CBiz closed the purchase of The TriMed Group of Flint, Mich., a 200-employee provider of billing services and in-house computer systems to medical care providers. TriMed is being merged into CBiz’s Medical Management Professionals group, a roughly $100 million a year outfit that now has about 80 offices across the country.

CBiz started off 2005 by acquiring the non-attest services of Nation Smith Hermes Diamond (NSHD), an $11.9 million-a-year CPA firm in San Diego. NSHD’s information technology consulting, strategic planning and financial services operations went to different CBiz units, while the firm’s attest services ultimately became part of Mayer Hoffman McCann.

Both the NHSD and Tri Med deals, valued at about $12 million each, are much larger than the dozens that CBiz made from 1999 through 2004 when it grew into a national company. A company spokeswoman said more large deals are possible.

“We will make the larger deals if they make sense to us,” said spokeswoman Lorrie Novickis. “We digested the earlier acquisitions and can now be more opportunistic.”

The digestion has entailed the organization of the more than 145 companies, including the non-attest services of MHM and several other CPA firms that CBiz acquired from the late 1990s through the early 2000s. Since then, the deal flow slowed to four in 2004 and just the one in 2005.

CBiz’s buying focus going forward is on companies in employee benefits, insurance, wealth management and payroll services and in about 15 geographic markets.

Don’t be surprised if another CPA firms sells its non-attest services to CBiz. Novickis said that last year’s NHSD deal was “the perfect acquisition for us” because that firm was among the biggest and best known in southern California and its non-attest services fit perfectly into CBiz’s portfolio.

“We will be opportunistic going forward. Deals will depend on what we need, where we need it and who is willing to talk with us,” she said.

CBiz Chairman and chief executive, Stephen L. Girard, said he likes the Tri Med deal because that company “is a leading regional provider in the medical billing industry that will fit perfectly into our growing and highly profitable medical management professional division.”

Randal J. Roat, a TriMed partner, said the deal will help Tri Med provide better service. “CBiz brings the skills, expertise and resources necessary to excel in tomorrow’s dynamic healthcare billing industry,” he said.

CBiz now has more than 140 company offices in 34 states and the District of Columbia. It services also include accounting and tax, valuation, technology and human resources consulting; internal audit; Sarbanes-Oxley section 404 compliance; valuation; litigation advisory; government relations and commercial real estate.

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