On Sunday the partners of Grant Thornton UK LLP and RSM Robson Rhodes LLP announced their agreement to merge the two firms to create the largest form outside the 'big 4' accountancy practices.  The new organisation will operate as Grant Thornton UK LLP, with the merger expected to complete on 1 July 2007. The merger firmly establishes Grant Thornton UK LLP as the UK's fifth largest accounting and business advisory group based on fee income (approximately £375 million) with over 300 partners and 4400 staff, operating from 33 locations. Readers with long memories will recall that both firms previously dabbled in the legal IT consultancy market – Robson Rhodes published a series of annual market surveys in the 1990s before apparently losing interest in the sector – and Grant Thornton had an IT consultancy headed by Andrew Levison before selling it to the Baker Robbins consultancy, which itself was subsequently acquired by Thomson publishing group earlier this year.