VCT adviser Howard Kennedy in merger deal
Combined group intends to be biggest player in entrepreneur market with revenues of £43m
Law firm Howard Kennedy, a specialist in the EIS and VCT market that in May advised on the first SEIS, is set to merge with Finers Stephens Innocent later this year.
Managers at both firms have signed heads of agreement, preliminary non-binding documents setting out the main issues for the partnership, and plan to merge under the name of Howard Kennedy FSI by 1 November 2012.
The intention is for the combined firm to be the major legal adviser to entrepreneurs, wealthy individuals and families, as well as their businesses and funders.
Howard Kennedy, which was involved in the launch of the first Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme earlier this year, is one of the most active legal advisers in the enterprise investment scheme and venture capital trust market.
In the 2010/11 tax year, Howard Kennedy was the legal or sponsor adviser to nearly two-thirds of all VCTs launched, amounting to £180m in fundraising for its clients. Its single largest VCT fundraising was the Downing Planned Exit 2011, which attracted £35m in investment.
As a combined firm, it will have 351 staff including 87 partners and 125 fee earners. Total revenue will be £43m. At the moment 25% of revenues come from outside the UK, most of which originates in the Middle East, Asian sub-continent, the Far East, Europe and the US.
Howard Kennedy FSI will be led by Mark Dembovsky as chief executive, who joined Howard Kennedy in January 2011. Paul Millett, FSI’s current managing partner, will join the combined firm’s management committee.
“This merger will create a strong platform from which to meet the dynamic needs of our entrepreneurial client base, the critical mass from which to deliver the highest quality services commensurate with a modern day Top 100 law firm, the momentum to expand our business and the strength to be the leading firm in this space,” Dembovsky said.