US consolidator considers selling up as embryonic UK market about to take off

US consolidator considers selling up as embryonic UK market about to take off

US accountancy consolidator Century Business Services, which has seen its share price plunge from $25 to $11, is considering selling up only weeks after moves began in the UK to merge mid-tier firms.

The news could dismay Jobtel and stockbroking firm Raphael Zorn Hemsley, which have both announced plans in the last month to consolidate the middle-sized accountancy sector in the UK.

Although market conditions are very different to America, where consolidation is a relatively mature business, the model used by CBiz in forming a business services company is one that fits particularly with the concept being mooted by RZH.

CBiz is America’s seventh largest accountancy player with a network of over 200 offices in 37 states, and through its subsidiary Century Small Business Solutio

ns, a franchisor of accounting services with more than 600 offices in 47 states.But the company has announced that it has enlisted Merrill Lynch to assist in ‘exploring strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value’.

Under consideration are a number of alternatives, including an alliance with a financial or strategic partner, and merging or selling the company.

CBiz chairman and ceo Michael G DeGroote said: ‘Our discussions over the past few months with various parties have led us to the conclusion that we should examine all of our options to increase shareholder value.’

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