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Accountants retain top ten ranking

Experian’s annual United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland M&A Review 2018 places Midlands accountants and business advisers, Smith Cooper, in 8th position by volume in the “financial adviser” category for the region – a jump from last year’s 9th place.

The review provides insight into M&A transactions completed in various regions of the UK during the last calendar year, and into the solicitors, funders and advisers involved. To be included, deal value must be at least £500k and be in the public domain.

Smith Cooper Corporate Finance completed 20 qualifying deals in 2018. The review reveals the top 10 advisers’ tally of deals range from 32 for much larger firms at the top of the table, to 12 deals for KPMG in 10th place.

Smith Cooper’s deals were varied in size, sector and nature but included acquisitions, sales, management buy-outs and buy-ins, as well as several development capital deals.

John Farnsworth, partner and head of Smith Cooper Corporate Finance said: “We are delighted to have retained our top 10 placing amongst some much larger advisory firms. The firm’s ability to sustain this level of activity from a dedicated team of around 10 individuals is testament to the ability, determination and tenacity of our talented team.

“In 2018 we completed several notable transactions, from local level to international. The deals included the landmark private equity-led management buy-out of Europe’s largest dedicated online garden products retailer Primrose, and the sale of one of the UK’s largest Pizza Hut businesses operating 28 stores, KMP Taste Limited.

“The current workload is high, and we expect to complete another 15 deals in the current quarter, bringing the total for our financial year ending 31 March 2019 to around 35. Our pipeline is also buoyant and so, looking forward, we remain cautiously optimistic for an equally successful 2019 calendar year, albeit perhaps with a pause in activity in Q1 - after which we hope the crescendo of political and economic uncertainties eases.”

The Midlands was the third busiest region in the UK in 2018, contributing 13% of UK deals by volume and 4.9% by value, demonstrating the strength of the local economy and the productivity and skills of its workforce across a range of businesses from small entrepreneurial ones through to globally-renowned listed ones.

A total of 977 deals worth a combined £18.2bn were announced in the Midlands in 2018, broadly level with 2017 but much higher in value terms than 2016 which was 35% lower. The largest 2018 Midlands deal was the £8.1bn acquisition of Redditch-based engineer GKN Plc by Melrose Industries Plc.

Smith Cooper Corporate Finance celebrated a stellar year in 2018, scooping 3 industry accolades at the prestigious Insider Dealmaker awards. The team offer a comprehensive range of advisory services from high-intensity full project-management of deals, to assistance with discrete aspects of a transaction.

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