Practice – Smith & Williamson fuels merger fever

Predictions of a mid-tier feeding frenzy looked to be coming true this week as Smith & Williamson confirmed it is to acquire North London firm Hereward Philips.

In a decision that led a host of merger announcements, the 12 Hereward Philips partners are likely to become partners in Smith & Williamson at the end of March, subject to further negotiations.

With a combined fee income of around #5.4m, Smith & Williamson, rated number 12 in the Accountancy Age Top 50, could be on target for a top 10 place next year.

Group managing director Gareth Pearce said the firm had been talking with Hereward Philips since September. ‘I’ve probably looked at 30 firms over the past year, but didn’t get beyond a phone call with most of them,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Kidsons Impey – the firm from which Moores Rowland rebounded into Stoys’ arms earlier this year – said it would change its name to HLB Kidsons on 1 May to strengthen its international image as part of the HLB network.

Moores Rowland International joined the restructuring mania by appointing fast-growing tax consultancy Chiltern Group as its London-based representative for specialist tax and corporate finance advice.

Two Scottish UK 200 firms have also merged. Campbell & Co, based in Bearsden, North Glasgow, and Dallas Nicholl based in Paisley, south of Glasgow, joined forces on Monday as Campbell Dallas. The new ten-partner firm starts life with fee income of around #2.5m.

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