Franchisees secure 32% share of TaxAssist Accountants in what is believed to be first MBO of its kind in the UK
We’re all for franchises making history and that’s exactly what TaxAssist Accountants has done this month. The national high street accountancy franchise that delivers tax advice to small businesses has just undergone a management buyout (MBO). Nothing new there, you might think. But what really sets this MBO apart if the fact that it was heavily assisted by the company’s franchisees.
Completed towards the end of the August for an undisclosed sum, the MBO will see the business 32% owned by franchisees, 53% by the senior management team and 15% by long-standing external business partners. TaxAssist has a UK-wide network of 190 franchisees and a fee income of more than £30m. It has also been introduced to Canada this year with franchises in Australia, New Zealand and the USA set for 2015.
TaxAssist’s chief executive Karl Sandall is joined in the buyout team by TaxAssist directors Sarah Robertson and Phil Sullivan. They will be supported on the board by two non-executive directors, John Chambers, corporate and commercial consultant with Ashton KCJ Solicitors and a representative appointed to represent the franchisees’ interests. Meanwhile, John Westgarth, who founded the business in 1995, has retired as chairman and director.
“Franchise operations have been bought by their management teams but as far as we are aware never in partnership with their franchisees,” said Sandall. “We believe this is a first in the UK and internationally.”
Sandall continued: “More than half of our network, including franchisees and their staff, have invested in the business and many more have expressed an interest in buying shares in the future as they are placed on our internal market. We’re delighted at the response to this offer and the even closer working partnership it creates for our business.
“Our network of franchisees has tremendous faith in the business model and its continued growth and when the opportunity arose to invest in the whole franchise, we had a fantastic response.”
If anything, this deal shows just how important franchisees are to the operation of a well-oiled franchise business. As far as we’re concerned, it’s only right that they should be rewarded for their efforts and we hope that more franchises follow TaxAssist’s example in the future.