NEW YORK - Buck Consultants Inc. is about to purchase another consulting firm.
Scotching reports that Buck was to be sold, Joseph Lo Cicero, president and chief executive officer of the New York-based consulting firm, said Buck has signed a letter of intent to buy another firm.
He declined to name the other firm but said the purchase would increase Buck's size and revenue about 30%.
The two firms have agreed in principle and contracts will be signed in five weeks at the latest, Mr. Lo Cicero added.
He acknowledged Buck is looking for strategic alliances that could result in some equity changing hands, but he said an outright sale is not being pursued. "We most definitely have not put up a for-sale sign," Mr. Lo Cicero said.
"We're doing very, very well. We like our independence."
About the impending purchase, he said: "It's not merely a matter of growing in size. It's strategic and opportunistic. This company has offices in places we do not, and we see it as a good strategic move."
Buck has 5,000 clients and 2,000 employees in its 50 offices worldwide, including more than 250 senior consultants. The company offers traditional pension consulting, actuarial services, benefits administration and outsourcing, employee communications, compensation consulting and health and welfare plan administration.
Buck reportedly had been discussing a sale to either Merrill Lynch & Co., Mellon Bank Corp. or Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. Mr. Lo Cicero would not comment on any talks but said Buck has worked with Merrill before on some projects in benefits outsourcing.
"We are looking at strategic partners that would give us the opportunity to leapfrog our competitors in this area," he said.
"What we're looking for is a partner that understands this business, that understands the explosion in the outsourcing business (and) sees a fit in this business with their existing business."
Buck has been growing rapidly in the benefits administration and outsourcing area, according to Mr. Lo Cicero.
The firm has developed capabilities to offer complete outsourcing of defined benefit, defined contribution health and welfare plans and is seeking a partner to continue to grow.