Jobtel on guard as consolidation shortlist drawn up

The director of the UK practice consolidator, Julian Hamilton, indicated today he was ‘fairly’ guarded concerning the information he was prepared to detail.

Hamilton said the company had made ‘steady progress’ in reaching agreements with firms but stated there were ‘still opportunities from medium sized practices with good management and ambition to join us’.

‘We are now shortlisting suitable foundation firms who will become ‘regional hubs’ or Product Group Specialists to which firms in the future will gravitate’, he said.

The managing partner of one firm who was visited by the consolidator, said: ‘Although the partnership structure had given good service over the past 100 years it is now no way to run a business’.

However difficulties experienced due to the varied governance of existing firms means the negotiation process could drag on.

‘Firms are becoming more commercial and consolidation will assist in this process, as it enable partners to develop a range of products in tune with their clients’ needs’, Hamilton added.

Consolidation fever in the UK is finding favour as the number of new business imperatives emerge. These now include Tenon, Jobtel and a tie-up between legal firm Rowe and Mawe and specialist adviser Douglas Llambias all involved.

The Tenon Group has listed on AIM to raise the £50m it believed was necessary to acquire enough firms to form a competitive organisation.

Jobtel believes that the consolidator market is broad enough for them all to live side by side.

‘The Jobtel route is slightly different with firms themselves grouping together and forming the structure, rather than being taken over.

‘It’s a question of keeping the creative talent interested and involved in the new business’, it added.

A number of larger firms have expressed ‘cautious interest’ in Jobtel’s plans. feature: A guide to the consolidators: Who are they, what do they want and should I sell out to them?

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