Jessica Fino 10 Jul 2018 10:51am

CogitalGroup buys Wilkins Kennedy

John Connolly’s CogitalGroup has continued its aggressive acquisition spree with its biggest purchase to date, top-20 firm Wilkins Kennedy

The UK’s 18th biggest accountancy firm will join Baldwins, which is part of CogitalGroup.

Wilkins Kennedy has more than 700 employees and partners, turnover in excess of £54m, and 18 offices across London and the South East.

Connolly, the former chief executive of Deloitte, announced in 2016 he was creating a new advisory firm. In October that year, the firm merged with Midlands-based Baldwins Accountants, bringing its revenue to £300m.

CogitalGroup said that following the completion of the acquisition it " will have annualised revenue approaching £500m" – 50% in the UK and 50% in the Nordic countries.

It now serves 70,000 clients and employs 6,000 people across 170 offices, including in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. It also has technology and support centres in Romania and Lithuania.

Cogital said that William Payne, senior partner at Wilkins Kennedy, will become a managing director in the South region, and will join the board of Baldwin Holdings.

Baldwin’s South arm will operate as Wilkins Kennedy from now on.

Payne said, “We are delighted to be joining the CogitalGroup at this key milestone in their growth story and to be representing the business across the South of England. We have a shared vision for the quality of service we can offer our clients, across both accounting and broader business services.”

Connolly welcomed the Wilkins Kennedy staff adding that, “This development represents a further significant step forward for CogitalGroup as we complete the first year of our five year plan to build a leading, technology driven, international business services group.

“Wilkins Kennedy is a highly regarded firm with a strong position in the entrepreneurial and private company market, which is the significant market segment where we focus.“

Last week, Cogital announced that its London division Blick Rothenberg had bought private tax client practice Westleton Drake.

The firm specialises on advising high net worth US families, executives and entrepreneurial business.

Connolly’s firm has been investing in several acquisitions since its inception. In March, it added tax advisory business Rawlinsons to its Baldwins business, taking the total number of offices for Baldwins in the UK to 63.