The firm has done a deal with 12-partner CLB Coopers and its three offices in Manchester, Lancaster and Bolton, to join the Baldwins Group.
The move, which is Baldwins’ first acquisition in the North West, means that the firm has doubled its number of offices over the last 12 months, from 16 to 32, and it now employs more than 800 staff with an annual turnover of around £50m.
This makes it the 18th largest UK accountancy firm in the UK, behind Begbies Traynor and ahead of Kingston Smith.
CLB Coopers will retain its name and the existing partners will continue to manage the firm.
Baldwins’ director John Baldwin
This year has been an incredible one for us at Baldwins. We have doubled the number of offices, expanded into two new regions and developed new services
CLB’s managing partner David Travis said, “CLB Coopers has an excellent reputation across the North West for providing a quality service in the owner-managed entrepreneurial market.
“This opportunity with the Baldwins Group provides us with greater national coverage and significantly enhances the resources we will have available to us to service our clients.
“We are delighted that Baldwins has a very similar culture to ourselves and we all look forward to working with them and to the opportunities it will bring for our clients and staff.”
Baldwins set out on an acquisitions spree two years ago, with the aim of becoming a national firm.
It started in November 2014 with the acquisition of Turner Peachey, which was based in Bridgnorth, Oswestry, Shifnal, Shrewsbury and Welshpool.
In 2015 it acquired Sandison Rouse & Co in Worcester, Berkeley Hamilton in Gloucester, Lings and Parkinson Matthews in Derby, and Cox Jerome in Walsall.
Meanwhile this year, during one week in February, it completed deals with four more practices, including Fox Evans in Coventry, Andrews, Orme & Hinton in Shrewsbury, Geraint Humphreys & Co in Oswestry and Gorings Chartered Accountants in Ilkeston.
In July it announced it had snapped up another firm, in this case, Evolution, a North East-based firm with offices in Newcastle and Wynyard.
Then in October came the news that it had merged with Cogital Group, the new accounting group backed by investment firm HG Capital and chaired by former Deloitte chairman and chief executive John Connolly, which was launched in July.
Baldwins’ director John Baldwin described the CLB Coopers’ deal as “a significant acquisition” for Coopers since it will have a platform to grow further in the region and it will be able to capitalise on the strength of the overall group.
Baldwin added that the firm intended to continue with its acquisitive strategy over the coming year.
“This year has been an incredible one for us at Baldwins. We have doubled the number of offices, expanded into two new regions and developed new services.
“The investment from Cogital Group has also fuelled the appetite for further growth into 2017 where we will have further acquisitions.”
Since July’s launch Cogital has invested in London-based accountancy firm Blick Rothenberg and in Visma, a business process outsourcing which provides accounting, payroll and HR services to 20,000 clients in the Nordic region. This is in addition to the deal with Baldwins.