CogitalGroup acquires Wilkins Kennedy

Big Four challenger CogitalGroup has made its biggest acquisition since its launch less than two years ago, adding top 20 accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy to its UK regional business, Baldwins

Wilkins Kennedy, ranked at number 18 in the Accountancy league table of firms, has an annual turnover of more than £54m, with some 700 employees and 74 partners. The firm has 18 offices across London and the south east and is one of the largest practices in the home counties.

John Connolly, CogitalGroup executive chairman, said: ‘This development represents a further significant step forward for CogitalGroup as we complete the first year of our five-year plan to build a leading, technology driven, international business services group.

‘Wilkins Kennedy is a highly regarded firm with a strong position in the entrepreneurial and private company market, which is the significant market segment where we focus.’

William Payne, Wilkins Kennedy’s senior partner, will become a regional managing director with responsibility for the south region within the UK business, and will join the board of Baldwin Holdings.

Payne said: ‘We are delighted to be joining the CogitalGroup at this key milestone in their growth story and to be representing the business across the South of England. We have a shared vision for the quality of service we can offer our clients, across both accounting and broader business services.’

Baldwins’ south region will operate as Wilkins Kennedy: a CogitalGroup Company.

John Baldwin, founder of Baldwins and CEO of Cogital UK regional division said: ‘We are very excited to welcome Wilkins Kennedy into our group. Our increased scale and market focus, supported by the broader CogitalGroup, gives us a great platform to deliver to our clients. First and foremost, CogitalGroup is about client service and we know that there is a great fit in this regard with our new colleagues from Wilkins Kennedy.’

CogitalGroup, which first entered the accountancy market in December 2016, says the latest acquisition plus what it calls ‘strong organic growth’, means it now has annualised revenue of nearly £500m, with 50% in the UK and 50% in the Nordic countries.

The group employs 6000 people operating from 170 offices, including in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, with technology and support centres in Romania and Lithuania. Earlier this month its London division, Blick Rothenberg, acquired Westleton Drake, a mid-tier provider of specialist tax services to US connected private clients, advising high net worth US families, executives and entrepreneurial business.

Report by Pat Sweet

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