Blick Rothenberg acquires Hazlems Fenton accountants

Blick Rothenberg, part of Cogital Group, is expanding with the acquisition of accounting firm Hazlems Fenton LLP, which primarily deals with entrepreneurial and owner-managed businesses

The acquisition, which will push Blick Rothenberg into the top 20 UK accounting firms in the UK in terms of fee income, is an asset purchase so all staff and the 10 partners of the existing Hazlems Fenton limited liability partnership, including joint managing partners Russell Tenzer, will move to Blick Rothenberg with immediate effect.

The plan is to rebrand Hazlems Fenton as Blick Rothenberg, although the timescale for the name change has not been finalised.

Blick Rothenberg CEO Nilesh Shah said: ‘In terms of the technicalities Hazlems Fenton is an asset purchase so all staff will be transferred, and all the partners will stay on. We will retain the trading name for a short period.

‘Our main aim is to make sure that the teams and clients feel settled, then we will rebrand. We are going to retain the trading name for a short period then when people get used to the fact that it is Blick Rothenberg we will rebrand.

‘The main focus for us is to just have the one Blick Rothenberg brand across the group. They are all very good businesses for us.’

Hazlems Fenton reported fee income of £11m for year end 31 March 2018, according to filed accounts at Companies House, and is the third acquisition for Blick Rothenberg in the last year.

The latest acquisition will give a major boost to Blick Rothenberg, bringing it into the top 20 ranking of UK accounting firms based on fee income.

Shah said: ‘We now have 410 people and our run rate in terms of what we expect to do this year - our year end is June - so if we look at where we will be by June next year, it will be £60m.’

He added: ‘We are delighted to have acquired Hazlems Fenton. They have a very good reputation in this sector and are a perfect fit commercially and culturally. It is another step in our ambition to build a high quality business focusing on domestic and international private businesses and their owners.’

Russell Tenzer, joint managing partner of Hazlems Fenton said: ‘This opportunity is the start of an exciting new phase for our practice. At a time when the profession is changing so rapidly, the ability to expand our service offering for clients and benefit from the investment in people and technology being made by Cogital Group is perfectly timed.’

The acquisition of Hazlems Fenton follows on from the share deal with specialist private tax client practice Westleton Drake in July this year. For the time being, Westleton Drake has retained its name and separate identity, and is branded as a Blick Rothenberg group company, although the plan is to rebrand the firm.  It is a mid-tier provider of specialist tax services to US connected private clients, advising high net worth US families, executives and entrepreneurial business. Shah explained: ‘On Westleton Drake, because of US filings we have been able to take time to hive that up but it will be rebranded.’

In late 2017, Blick Rothenberg also acquired Shelley Stock Hutter (SSH), also a specialist in owner managed businesses, which was rebranded into the wider group. At the time of the acquisition SSH was ranked at number 70 in the Accountancy league table of the top 75 firms in 2017, with fee income of £7.2m and seven partners.

Blick Rothenberg is backed by Cogital Group, chaired by former Deloitte chief John Connolly. Cogital is also the force behind Baldwins Accountants, the fast growing regional accounting firm, which has been snapping up firms across the UK and has estimated annual fee income of £80m.

Report by Sara White

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