Private equity-backed accountancy firm challenger expands with new investment

William Turvill
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CogitalGroup wants to challenge the Big Four accountancy firms: Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and EY (Source: Getty)

A newly-formed private equity-backed accountancy group has announced a new investment.

CogitalGroup, which was founded this summer by private equity firm HgCapital and former Deloitte UK chief executive John Connolly, this morning announced a deal with Baldwins.

The accountancy firm has 27 offices across the UK, employing 650 people. Connolly will join the board of the company, which plans to continue its strategy of acquiring companies to build out its regional network of practices.

Read more: Former Deloitte chief plots challenger to big four accountancy firms

Sky News first reported that HgCapital and Connolly were plotting the launch of a challenger to the Big Four accountancy firms, consisting of Deloitte, EY, PwC and KPMG, in August.

Under the scheme, accountancy firm Blick Rothenberg, which was taken over by HgCapital in July, was brought under the CogitalGroup holding company.

Last month, HgCapital announced the acquisition of Norway-based accounting services firm Visma BPO.

The private equity firm today said Blick Rothenberg, Visma BPO and Baldwins will form CogitalGroup.

Read more: Best of the bean counters: PWC in the money with revenues rising to $35.9bn

Chaired by Connolly, the firm will have 3,200 staff based across Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the UK and have a pro-forma group revenue of £300m.

Connolly said:

This is a major landmark for CogitalGroup and is part of our strategy to build a different kind of advisory business, underpinned by exceptional levels of innovation and client-focused service. We are extremely excited about our future and strongly believe that there is a place in the market for a firm focused on entrepreneurial businesses and high net worth individuals, delivering a personal service whilst harnessing the value-enhancing role of technology.

Baldwins is a company I have known and admired for some time and I am delighted that we now have the opportunity to work with John [Baldwin, director of Baldwins,] and his team. Along with our colleagues at Blick Rothenberg and Visma BPO, they will help take CogitalGroup to the next level.

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