Tenon shows hand.

Tenon, the accountancy-based business services company, has announced its first acquisition with the purchase of the non-audit business of mid-tier firm Morison Stoneham – and says more announcements will follow.

The deal valued Morison – 31st in the Accountancy Age Top 50 league table – at #10.25m. The total will be paid with #6.36m from the issue of 5.36m new ordinary shares in Tenon, the first UK quoted accountancy-based business services company, and the balance of #3.89m in cash.

Ian Buckley, chief executive of Tenon, said: ‘This acquisition represents the first step in our strategy of establishing a broadly based business services group.

‘We are confident we can build on Morison Stoneham’s growing profit trend through increased investment and active marketing.’ Buckley also emphasised his dislike of Tenon being described as an accountancy firm ‘consolidator’.

As part of the deal, Morison Stoneham’s former audit partners now become owners and directors of Blueprint Audit, a newly established audit firm working closely with Tenon.

Blueprint Audit has yet to apply for a licence. Acknowledging the potential for perceived conflict of interest issues, Buckley said: ‘Tenon will offer Blueprint support services, such as office space and the finance function, but the relationship will be kept at arms’ length.’

He also said a three-person ethics and independence committee had been set up by the companies with the blessing of the English ICA to monitor their relationship.

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