City grandee John Connolly reveals Cogital's rapid expansion, a £1bn target and plans for an IPO

 
Oliver Gill
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John Connolly, the former head of Deloitte and current chair of G4S and Amec launched Cogital last December (Source: Getty)

A rapidly expanding challenger to Britain’s biggest accounting firms will soon be beyond the reach of its Big Four rivals, its founder, the former head of Deloitte, said this morning.

John Connolly, also the chair of G4S and Amec Foster Wheeler, told City A.M. Cogital is targeting more than £1bn of revenues and a potential IPO in the next few years.

The firm revealed its workforce has swelled to 4,600 people less than a year after launching and had delivered £300m in pro forma annual revenues to the end of June.

Connolly, who retired as Deloitte's senior partner in 2011, said:

In my Deloitte days I was always a big, bold target person; so at the moment our target is £1bn [in revenue]. That is the number we’ve got in our sights.

Cogital has made over 20 acquisitions since launching in December and is already serving 58,000 clients from 137 offices across seven countries.

Connolly admitted the firm purposely kept its speedy expansion under wraps but had “decided to expose ourselves a little more”.

Read more: Big Four rival? No, we're friends, insists ex-Deloitte boss of Cogital

IPO

The plan, he added, is to grow the business in a “very substantial way” over the next four or five years and then seek an exit either through an IPO or sale to a large private equity house.

He said: "It’s not a business that we think it would be sold to be Big Four firm, they could never finance it anyway."

Connolly insisted the firm is focused on stealing ground of mid-market accountancy firms such as BDO rather than the Big Four. BDO is known for carving out a niche in the mid-market accountancy space.

"Our primary focus is organic growth and we look at the M&A growth as an enhancement," he said.

“I don’t know whether they would be [worried about Cogital]. I’m sure they observe it."

Read more: More KPMG partners are following Richard Fleming to Alvarez & Marsal

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