Corporate finance – PwC key role in Slough bid

PricewaterhouseCoopers claims it has proved accountancy firms are no longer the second-class citizens of the corporate finance world, after advising Slough Estates on its #276m hostile takeover of rival Bilton.

PwC said the property industry deal, completed on Friday, is the largest hostile takeover in which the winning side has used an accountancy firm as its lead adviser.

Although large and mid-tier accountancy firms have gradually expanded their corporate finance activities over the last decade, companies considering hostile takeovers have generally continued to use investment banks as advisers.

Philip Kendall, head of plc advisory services at PwC, told Accountancy Age: ‘This deal fills in the last piece in the jigsaw of mainstream corporate finance activities carried out by accountancy firms.

‘Advising on hostile takeovers is a core part of mainstream corporate finance activities and central to providing a full range of corporate advisory work.’

Tougher rules on conflicts of interests, he added, may provide further encouragement to companies to use accountancy firms, rather than investment banks, to advise on their corporate finance activities.

The deal took place after PwC suggested it to Slough and followed a number of other smaller hostile takeover bids in which accountancy firms were involved.

Deloitte & Touche earlier this year advised on the aborted Guinness Peat Group attempt to buy Bluebird Toys.

Kendall is a former investment banker, having worked at Baring Brothers and Samuel Montagu. His colleague Simon Boadle, who led the PwC team, was also an investment banker at NatWest markets. Both were hired by PwC to beef up its corporate finance arm.

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