Scots accountancy firm AAB expands UK footprint with key 'merger' deal

Scottish accountancy and business services group Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB) has sealed what is being billed as a merger with Leeds-based peer Sagars to expand its UK regional presence.

The two firms are on track to deliver a combined £40 million-plus revenue in the current financial year with a “clear strategy in place” to deliver £70m group revenue by 2026.

Sagars will maintain its own brand following the merger but shall become part of the AAB group.

There will be no job losses as a result of the deal, while bosses said they planned to grow the existing Sagars team in Leeds.

Chris Jones, managing partner at Sagars, with Graeme Allan, chief executive at AAB, after sealing the tie-up. Picture: Matt Rolfe

The tie-up comes after AAB last month secured a “significant” investment from a private equity firm to fast-track growth and fund acquisition deals. The Aberdeen-headquartered group struck the deal with August Equity as it looks to build market share across the Central Belt and further grow in the English market.

AAB said Sagars’ complementary geographic presence would further enhance the wider AAB group as a key player in the accountancy and business services market in the UK, adding Leeds to its offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London.

Chris Jones, managing partner at Sagars, said: “Through the merger we can achieve our goal of increasing the depth and breadth of the services we offer, whilst retaining an ability to shape our own future.

“We have no doubt that our complementary skills and service lines will mean that together, we will be able to do more for our clients, whilst providing great opportunities for all our team in a fast-growing business services group that is highly differentiated in the market.”

Graeme Allan, chief executive at AAB, said: “We have worked closely with Chris and the Sagars team over the last ten years, and they are aligned with our way of thinking.

“Like us, they are driven by a passion for helping people - clients and team members alike - achieve their goals. We are hugely excited about the opportunity Sagars presents in Leeds and this merger enables us to support an even wider range of SME [small and medium-sized enterprise] and enterprise clients across the UK.”

Both firms are members of accountancy network Accelerate, and through it to Crowe Global which gives both businesses access to accountancy firms in more than 130 countries.

Following its recent investment deal, AAB said it was looking to take on additional staff and accelerate its investment in technology, while the funding will also provide firepower for it to pursue merger and acquisition (M&A) opportunities across the UK.

This year has already seen AAB acquire Glasgow-based accountancy firm Hardie Caldwell and Edinburgh-based Purpose HR.

Allan said the deal came as the group sees many other opportunities to invest to fast-track growth.

“August Equity’s investment will be instrumental in helping us build a high-quality regional business services group across the UK. They are also a great cultural fit and are as excited about our partnership and the future as we are,” Allan said as the funding was announced last month.

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