Kentucky accounting firms Dean Dorton Ford, which has the bulk of its operations in Lexington, and Louisville's Cotton + Allen announced late Thursday that they plan to combine operations by the end of the year.
"One of our goals is to establish ourselves as a statewide firm, and Cotton + Allen has a long storied history in Louisville," said Richard O. Dorton, CEO of Dean Dorton Ford, which was founded in 1979. "It really just helps us to further establish our Louisville presence and helps us quicken our move into Western Kentucky and the balance of the state."
No money will change hands as part of the combination, he said.
The new firm, Dean Dorton Allen Ford will have 160 employees. Of those, 100 will work in Lexington and 60 in Louisville, where Cotton + Allen has its 45 employees and Dean Dorton Ford has 15.
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Dorton said the combination also made sense because the two firms don't have significant overlaps in specializations.
"They're particularly strong in manufacturing, and although we have some manufacturing clients, we think that's a clear benefit of the combination," he said. "We're particularly deep in health care and technology services and equine, for example. Although they do some work in those areas, it's not nearly as much as we do."
And as Gwen E. Tilton, president of Cotton + Allen, noted, "Add to that our similar corporate philosophies and growth strategies, and we're a perfect fit."