With Numerica successfully floating on the Alternative Investment Market last week, it would appear the consolidators are here to stay.
Tenon was the first to move, raising #50m last year on AIM, and has subsequently embarked on a spending spree, acquiring several firms along the way.
Jobtel is waiting in the wings, having said it would float before the year is out, although little progress seems to have been made to date.
So now is a good time to look at the websites of the consolidators, to see what they are doing to attract potential merger partners. And the range in quality is very marked.
Tenon, the original consolidator, has a very good site, as one would expect from a company that has a large enough war chest to buy up several accountancy firms.
The site www.tenongroup.com now rivals those of the big firms in terms of design and clarity, although at this stage there is not the same level of content – perhaps no bad thing. Tenon’s web presence strikes a good balance between necessary corporate information and details on the services provided by the company, satisfying the needs of both the investor and the customer. It has a professional feel, is not cluttered by any flashy graphics and is quick to load as a result.
The only complaint is that there isn’t an immediately obvious way to find out who has joined the group – this information is tucked away in the contact section.
New kid on the block Numerica’s website, www.numericagroup.com is, frankly, a disappointment. To say it is basic would be an understatement – maybe it has been kept simple deliberately, but it is not a particularly good advertisement for a newly created organisation.
Surprisingly, there isn’t an investor relations area, something which one would have considered a priority for a newly floated company. Even more surprisingly, it appears you can edit the company’s press releases – very odd indeed.
The company raised #30m by floating on AIM – it may be early days, but it should consider spending a bit more on its website.
Jobtel’s site, www.jobtelmanda.co.uk, is also a let down. Billed as another consolidator, although so far there has been little activity in this area, the site is more interested in promoting its own products, including advice on buying or selling practices.
Jobtel is very active in the practice merger market, so this inevitably takes precedence over any consolidation news. There is a noticeboard for firms that are looking for merger partners, which might be worth a look.
However, disappointingly there is no company information on Jobtel itself, just a request that you contact the organisation. Even the website address is a bit odd.
Bentley Jennison is itself looked upon as a consolidator, although its approach is different, as it aims to pick up smaller firms around the UK. Its website, www.bentley-jennison.co.uk, although not going into detail about consolidation, makes its acquisitive nature clear. The site is informative and professional, with an appropriate level of content.
VIRTUAL CONSOLIDATORS: TENON LEADS THE BATTLE ON THE WEB
The original consolidator, with a professional, well-designed site, shows where some of the AIM money has gone.
Disappointing site from the new consolidator on the block, which should learn some lessons from its main firm, Levy Gee.
A basic site from the practice merger brokers – one would have thought it could have spent more time on its web presence.
www.bentley-jennison.co.uk Professional site from old-school acquisitive practice, which doesn’t seek to overload on information, placing the emphasis on clarity. ***.
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