Crowe Chizek & Enterprise Financial to Combine

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Crowe Chizek and Company LLC has announced that it intends to combine practices with New Jersey-based Enterprise Financial Consulting Group LLC (EFC), with a planned closing date of July 1, 2007. Crowe Group LLP, parent company of Crowe Chizek, is one of the 10 largest public accounting and consulting firms in the U.S.

EFC was founded in 1996 and today has more than 20 seasoned professionals working in offices in Mt. Laurel, N.J. and Atlanta, Ga. EFC's focus on providing customized risk consulting, governance and compliance solutions to East Coast businesses aligns with Crowe's industry and geographic growth strategy.

"Combining practices with EFC will help us to further expand our East Coast footprint, a market we have been focusing on since we opened our New Jersey office in 2004,” said Chuck Allen, Crowe's chief executive officer. “For Crowe's many national and international clients with offices on the East Coast, this combination allows us to increase the number of professionals who can serve their needs locally. Also, we believe EFC's substantial client base and excellent client service reputation will provide opportunities for Crowe to offer many of our other services to EFC's risk consulting clients in a key market in our growth plans.”

For EFC, combining with Crowe will significantly expand the services available to existing clients. “The opportunity to deepen resources and provide added services and insights to help clients achieve success was highly attractive,” said Jonathan Marks, EFC senior managing director. "We believe this combination provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to better serve the expanding needs of our regional and national clients. Additionally, with Crowe's membership in Horwath International, our clients will gain the advantage of having access to 120 Horwath member firms in more than 400 offices around the world."

Marks, along with Kevin O'Sullivan, EFC senior managing director, will join Crowe as partners. “Jonathan and Kevin are nationally recognized thought leaders,” Allen said. “We believe they bring a significant depth of knowledge and experience that will be of great benefit to our clients across the country and around the world.”

"We had been planning to expand further on the East Coast for some time,” said Kevin McGrath, Crowe's chief operating officer. “The attractiveness of this market as a whole, its importance in our growth plans and EFC's quality people and values were major factors in our decision to combine practices. The combination accelerates that plan, while deepening our team of professionals across the firm. We believe that this transaction will provide our personnel and our firm with numerous opportunities for continued growth. Additionally, this transaction continues Crowe's investment strategy in supporting Horwath International by broadening our brand in the New York metropolitan area.”

The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Once the transaction is complete, the two firms will operate under the Crowe name.

"We are very excited about joining the Crowe team, as it allows us to capitalize on the synergies between our two firms,” said O'Sullivan. “This is an ideal fit for our clients and our people. As well, Crowe's values-driven management philosophy will be a wonderful platform for our people to continue to grow.”

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