AAB purchases French Duncan amid UK expansion

16 May 2023 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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Professional services firm AAB has announced its largest acquisition to date, with the purchase of audit and advisory company French Duncan. AAB was advised on the deal by professionals from investment bank Alantra.

Aberdeen headquartered AAB has been working consistently 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. Then, in 2021, the firm turned to acquisitions to hasten its growth – snapping up North of England-based Sagars.

Now, AAB has sought to maintain that momentum with another deal – its largest to date. The purchase of French Duncan – which offers accountancy and business advisory solutions to support small and medium-sized enterprises across Scotland – adds a total of 200 people to AAB’s headcount, as well as offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling.

The combined AAB and French Duncan teams are more than 350-strong across Central Scotland, and the move further strengthens the team’s ability to deliver client-focused services to businesses and individuals across the key growth region for the group. As well as boosting existing AAB Group specialist teams in audit, tax, business advisory, corporate finance and HR, the news also introduces more than 50 leisure and hospitality finance specialists to the group who provide bespoke hotel accounting services to clients across the UK.

Graeme Allan, Chief Executive at AAB Group commented, “This is our largest strategic acquisition to date and significantly strengthens our market position in Scotland. We are truly delighted to welcome the French Duncan team to AAB. We share a passion for supporting clients to achieve their goals by offering an unparalleled range of services to the businesses and individuals who choose to work with us and I know our teams will be able to provide an even better service to our clients as a result of this deal.”

Since the start of May 2023, French Duncan has commenced trading as AAB, with FD Hotel Accounting trading as AAB Hotel Accounting and FD People trading as AAB People – though French Duncan Wealth Management and FD Intelligence do not form part of the transaction. At the same time, French Duncan’s Managing Partner, Graeme Finnie, will take on the role of Managing Partner – Glasgow for AAB following the deal. 

Finnie added, “This deal is a superb next step for the French Duncan team. We have admired the journey AAB has been on and by joining the group ourselves we will create unmatched opportunities for our teams and our clients through enhanced technology, investment and expertise.”

AAB Group now employs more than 1,000 people across the UK, Ireland and internationally. It was supported through the dealmaking process by experts from Alantra. Alantra has worked with AAB since 2021, when it advised on its investment from August Equity – the backing that put AAB on a strategic growth journey that is seeing it continue to acquire new brands.

Richard Holden, Partner and UK Head of Business Services at Alantra, who led the deal, commented, “It has been a pleasure to support AAB on this strategically important acquisition. AAB is one of the fastest growing new model accounting firms in the UK. We have worked closely with Chief Executive Graeme Allan and his team since advising on the investment from August Equity in 2021. Acquiring French Duncan marks a key milestone in growing AAB.”