Sovereign Capital invests in British accounting firms SJD and Nixon Williams

Sovereign Capital has made an investment in both SJD Accountancy and Nixon Williams. The combined value of the transaction is 100 million pounds. BlueBay provided the debt financing. Both SJD and Nixon Williams are UK-based accounting firms.

PRESS RELEASE

Sovereign Capital, the UK private equity Buy & Build specialist, is pleased to announce that it has completed its simultaneous investments in SJD Accountancy (“SJD”) and Nixon Williams in a transaction worth £100m. Together, these businesses form the largest group providing accounting services to the Contractor and SME markets in the UK.

SJD is the UK’s market leader, in the highly fragmented and growing Contractor accounting market, and has achieved 22 years of unbroken growth. Founded in 1992 by entrepreneur Simon Dolan, the business is headquartered in Hemel Hempstead and has over 14,000 clients across its national network of offices.

Nixon Williams has experienced similarly strong growth reflecting its particular expertise in the IT contractor market. Founded in 1995 by Alan Williams and Andy Nixon, the business is based in Blackpool and has over 4,000 clients.

Both companies offer their clients a breadth of accountancy services including year-end accounts, corporation tax, bookkeeping, payroll services and quarterly VAT calculations. Together the businesses employ C.280 staff, predominantly comprising qualified accountants and accounting professionals. The businesses are expected to grow through a combination of continued strong organic growth and further acquisitions. The businesses will continue to operate independently under their respective brands within the new Group structure, receiving the investment and support to further develop their offering.

Sovereign has backed the management teams, together with the appointments of Group Chairman, CEO and CFO. Jeremy Newman joins as Chairman; he was formerly the CEO of BDO International and the Managing Partner of BDO UK and is currently Chair of the Audit Commission. Simon Curry joins as Group CEO, with significant SME experience being formerly CEO of Powwownow, dabs.com plc, Plusnet plc and a senior director at BT Openworld. Kevin Budge joins as Group CFO, having completed the successful private equity exit of Avelo FS to Iress. Claire Johnson, MD of SJD becomes Group Operations Director and Julian Carnell, SJD, becomes Group Sales & Marketing Director. This provides the founders with an opportunity to step back from the respective businesses.

Jeremy Morgan, Director, Sovereign Capital commented, “Sovereign has a particular focus on the business support services sector and has been actively tracking accountancy services for some years. We are delighted to have created a market leading group through our partnership with these highly successful businesses and to work with the Group’s management team to enhance the growth opportunity for the business in this highly fragmented market. We look forward to introducing further acquisitions into the Group”

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.

Debt to support the transaction was provided by BlueBay.