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£100m private equity deal creates new accounting group

ONE OF THE UK’s most high-flying accountancy firms has been snapped up in a £100m deal by a private equity firm.

SJD Accountancy, a British Accountancy Award-winning firm that specialises in contractor services, has been acquired along with online accounting practice Nixon Williams by Sovereign Capital. The £100m+ deal will see the two businesses retain their brands and operate separately in a group as part of the private equity firm’s portfolio.

The group’s combined fee income will be £25m, and see the two provide services to 18,000 contractors across the UK.

Simon Dolan, who founded SJD in 1992, steps down following the deal. He will be involved in a consulting capacity for a period. SJD won Small Firm of the Year in the Accountancy Age Awards 2004, and its regional director won New Accountant of the Year in the 2011 British Accountancy Awards. Nixon Williams was established in 1995 by Alan Williams and Andy Nixon, and experienced similarly strong growth, reflecting its particular expertise in the IT contractor market.

Jeremy Newman, former head of BDO in the UK and internationally, joins as group chairman. Kevin Budge, who previously completed the private equity exit of Avelo FS to Iress, becomes CFO.

Claire Johnson, MD of SJD, becomes group operations director, while former internet company senior executive Simon Curry is named group CEO.

Julian Carnell, sales and marketing director of SJD becomes group sales and marketing director.

Simon Curry, group CEO, said: “Both SJD and Nixon Williams are excellent businesses, fully focused on providing clients with a highly efficient service; both businesses receive a significant number of referrals from existing clients and enjoy long term client relationships. The economic landscape has shown continued growth in the contractor market and we look forward to building upon the pace of growth these businesses have achieved.”

SJD is currently ranked 32 in the Accountancy Age Top 50+50 Survey of Firms, with £20m of fee income.

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