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Today’s news in brief – 6/2/2024

Evelyn Partners has relocated its Leeds office to 3 Wellington Place, a new vibrant quarter in the city centre. The move, expected in the second half of the year, accommodates the 85-strong team, offering a modern working environment. Wellington Place, spanning 21 acres with mixed-use buildings, aligns with Evelyn Partners’ ambitious plans to work with more clients in Yorkshire. The new premises, strategically located near the train station, will enhance client-adviser meetings. Ian Gibson, managing partner of Evelyn Partners’ Leeds office, emphasises the positive impact of the move on the firm’s growth trajectory and client service.

Baker Tilly has agreed to sell a majority stake to investment groups Hellman and Friedman (H&F) and Valeas, marking the largest private equity deal in the accounting industry. The deal values Baker Tilly’s US business at over $2bn (£1.5bn), providing capital for an aggressive acquisition strategy. With ambitions to challenge mid-tier accounting firms outside the Big Four, Baker Tilly aims for growth and competitiveness. H&F’s investment, over 50% of the firm, signifies a return to large-scale dealmaking in the US accounting sector. The transaction includes equity stakes and debt financing from private lenders.

Ai Accounts, an accountancy firm in Leamington Spa, has expanded into the larger Longwood Suite at 11 Waterloo Place after a record year. Doubling turnover in 2023 and expanding its client base and headcount, Ai Accounts moves from the Waterloo Suite to accommodate growth plans for 2024. The firm, specialising in accounting and financial business advice for technology and recruitment sectors, signs a two-year lease to support further expansion. Founder Anna Stafford expresses excitement about the new office, strengthening their ability to serve existing clients and take on new work.

FRP has completed the pre-pack sale of Specialist Aviation Services to Gama Aviation, securing the continuation of vital air ambulance operations. Specialist Aviation Services, providing helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) primarily in the South of England, faced financial challenges. FRP, appointed in October 2023, ran an accelerated M&A process and facilitated the pre-pack sale to Gama Aviation plc, ensuring the seamless transfer of all but two of the company’s 184 employees. The transaction involved complex negotiations with various stakeholders, including aircraft financiers, OEMs, and air ambulance charities.

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