Moore Kingston Smith LLP pioneers innovative professional services transaction with completion of Private Equity funding as an LLP

Moore Kingston Smith LLP, the leading London firm of top 10 accounting network Moore UK, has become the first major accountancy firm in the UK to take on private equity funding and at the same time fully retain its coveted limited liability partnership status. The unique structure of the firm’s investment from major European PE house Waterland, which successfully completed on 30 June 2023, represents an innovative break from the traditional requirement to move to a limited company operating model as part of a PE transaction.

  • Retaining LLP structure secures and protects traditional “partnership” model for professional services through the LLP
  • A consistent, familiar, and tested route to the top for the firm’s people
  • Paves the way for seamless acquisitions of other professional practices
  • Consistent, holistic client service remains unchanged and entrepreneurial “partnership” ethos maintained

The newly adopted flexible structure will allow other acquisition targets to join the firm in a seamless way, whilst ensuring the opportunity for people to rise to the top and become equity partners and joint owners of an enlarged business. This was a significant consideration for the firm’s partners in pursuing this new deal structure. Equally important was the partners’ ability to retain full operational control of the day-to-day business, in line with their commitment to protect the culture and ethos they have developed over many years.

Maureen Penfold, Managing Partner of Moore Kingston Smith LLP, explains: “Growth has always been a key ambition of ours, and the completion of this PE investment is a key part of our strategy to ensure sustainable success for our people and clients. The core to this success is the fantastic culture we have developed, where our clients really are at the core of our business decisions, and our people come first.

When we considered our options for securing our sustainable growth both in the UK and overseas, maintaining that culture – and all the opportunities it affords for our people and our clients – was non-negotiable. That’s what drove us to find a way to keep our limited liability partnership model while taking on PE investment in this ground-breaking way. We are delighted to be the first major professional services firm in the accountancy sector to pioneer such an innovative deal structure and to pave the way for other firms to follow suit.”

William Wastie, Partner and Head of the leading Professional Practices Group at Addleshaw Goddard LLP who acted as legal advisors on the deal, added: “It has been a privilege to advise our client at such a pivotal time in their history, and especially given the uniqueness of this transaction. To retain the flexibility of an LLP ownership structure combined with taking on private equity funding has created a new model for investment growth, and we are sure that this will provide significant further opportunity for the future growth of the business”.

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For more information, please contact Ellie Hallam +44 7502 409118