Scotland's AAB moves into North of England with Sagars deal

09 November 2021 4 min. read
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Scottish accountancy and business services group Anderson Anderson & Brown has sealed a merger with professional services firm Sagars. The move enables the group to expand into the North of England, having recently received backing from private equity firm August Equity. 

Together, Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB) and Sagars are on track to deliver a more than £40 million in revenue in the current financial year, while the deal sees a strategy put in place to grow that to a £70 million group revenue by 2026. Made up of more than 450 team members, the merger has created one of the UK’s “strongest, most expansive portfolios of business services”, according to a release from the firm.

The combined services of the two firms branch across audit, accounting, tax, payroll, HR, consulting, wealth and corporate finance. This complimentary fit was further highlighted by AAB Chief Executive Graeme Allan, noting the two firms have enjoyed a working relationship for several years, and shared common values.

Scotland's AAB moves into North of England with Sagars deal

Allan added, “We have worked closely with Chris and the Sagars team over the last 10 years, and they are aligned with our way of thinking. Like us, they are driven by a passion for helping people, clients and team members alike, achieve their goals. We are hugely excited about the opportunity Sagars presents in Leeds and this merger enables us to support an even wider range of SME and enterprise clients across the UK.”

Aberdeen headquartered AAB has been mulling ways to expand its offering in recent times. In 2018, the firm launched a dedicated consulting firm, in a bid to boost revenue growth, and amid the digital-disruption wrought by the pandemic, the firm was able to make the most of a rise in demand for its tech-enabled advisory services from the SME and enterprise markets. As AAB sought to capitalise on this momentum, earlier in the autumn the firm attracted a landmark investment.

Following the announcement of new backing from August Partners, AAB declared it would seek M&A opportunities to ramp up capacity faster, and partner with firms who adopted a similar ethos. Based in Leeds, Sagars is led by seven partners, and supported by a further 100 other specialists covering tax, accounting, virtual finance, payroll and audit. It will maintain its own brand following the merger but becomes part of the AAB Group, while a spokesperson confirmed to the press that there were “no other immediate changes” planned for either brand.

Chris Jones, Managing Partner at Sagars, remarked, “We were attracted by AAB because we both have a clear focus on delivering awesome client service, investing in and developing our people and expanding our portfolio of tech-enabled services for the SME and enterprise markets. We have no doubt that our complimentary skills and service lines will mean that together, we will be able to do more for our clients, whilst providing great opportunities for all our team in a fast-growing business services group that is highly differentiated in the market.”

The news further expands AAB’s presence south of Hadrian’s Wall, complementing its previously existing London office. The new Leeds locale adds to other mergers which have seen the group enter new regions – including one with Glasgow-based accountancy firm Hardie Caldwell, and the acquisition of Edinburgh-based Purpose HR – earlier in 2021.

AAB was advised on the deal by Addleshaw Goddard. The team from the professional services firm was led by Corporate Partner and Head of Scotland, David Kirchin, and legal director, Laura Falls.

Kirchin stated, “AAB is enjoying a fantastic period of growth across the Central Belt of Scotland and this latest deal is the next important step in an ambitious strategy to grow the team’s footprint and establish the business as a key UK regional player in the accountancy and wider business services market. We are very pleased to be supporting Graeme Allan and his team on their M&A strategy as well as external investment into the business and the momentum they are building.”