Alantra advises Waterland Private Equity on its investment in Cooper Parry

SECTORBusiness Services


Jul 2022
Buy-side advisory

London – Alantra, the global investment banking firm and asset management specialist, has advised Waterland Private Equity (“Waterland”) on its investment in Cooper Parry LLP (“Cooper Parry” or “the Company”), the fast growing and disruptive firm of accountants and business advisers.  

Cooper Parry’s award-winning teams support like-minded entrepreneurial businesses across the UK and overseas, covering the spectrum of Audit, Tax, R&D, Tech & High Growth, Outsourced Finance Services, Corporate Finance and Wealth Management. In recent years, the Company has grown market share by successfully pivoting from a generalist to a specialist approach, providing tech-enabled accountancy services for high growth technology companies and established businesses across a range of end markets.

Today, the Company employs over 475 people across its “Sky View” headquarters (celebrated in the UK’s Top 10 coolest offices by The Daily Telegraph) in the East Midlands, in Shoreditch and in prestigious new city centre offices in Birmingham, West Midlands. Glassdoor and NPS scores consistently out-perform peers as ‘best in class’, ensuring the continued recruitment and retention of top talent across the team. Post-deal, the 42 strong Partner Group will all remain with incentive plans established to further increase the size of the Partner Group over the course of the partnership with Waterland.

Ade Cheatham will continue as CEO to propel the business forward alongside the full existing Leadership team. With Waterland’s investment, Cooper Parry will roll out its ambitious five-year vision to generate a five-fold increase in annual revenues and provide a broader suite of services to new and existing clients. An identified pipeline of new Partner hires, team lifts and complementary acquisitions will strengthen existing and add new capabilities to expand Cooper Parry’s presence in the UK and internationally. Significant follow-on funding is available to support the Accountancy and Wealth Management businesses, which will operate as standalone business units and follow independent M&A strategies.

Under the terms of the transaction, which remains subject to regulatory approvals, Cooper Parry will convert into a limited company with Waterland as a significant shareholder and the Partners retaining a substantial equity stake.

Alantra is a market-leading adviser in the accounting and professional services space. Its UK Business Services team, including Richard Holden, Julian Ayisi and Harry Caro, advised Waterland.

Richard Holden, Partner and UK Head of Business Services, commented, “Cooper Parry has a high quality management team that has created a differentiated accounting business. The need to invest in technology and improve client propositions are strategic priorities for the accounting industry. This is forcing firms to create better employee propositions, decide how to manage succession and break the mould of the traditional accounting partnership.

The deal is significant as we continue to see strong interest from private equity and a focus on using buy and build to deliver higher growth in a highly fragmented market where the ability remains to buy smaller firms at a discount to platform pricing.”

Ade Cheatham, CEO of Cooper Parry commented: “This partnership is brilliant for our people and our clients. With Waterland on board, we can supercharge our growth and expansion across the UK and internationally. They have a strong track record of supporting ambitious advisory firms like ours and their pan-European presence will prove invaluable as we progress in our journey. Critically, they ‘get’ our unique culture and alternative approach to traditional accountancy services. Right from the get-go, they’ve consistently supported and endorsed our disruptive and entrepreneurial spirit. Our ambitious target is five fold growth by 2027. Latest results, just released, have delivered 33% YOY growth The next five years are going to be tremendously exciting for everyone involved with Cooper Parry, that’s for sure.”

Dominic Graham, Investment Director at Waterland Private Equity commented: “We are delighted to Partner with Cooper Parry – there was a meeting of minds from our first interaction with Ade and the Cooper Parry team. Cooper Parry is clearly differentiated in a crowded market and well-placed to take advantage of continued structural change driven by regulatory change and client demands. We love Cooper Parry’s unique approach to people, which has resulted in a strong entrepreneurial culture and market leading employee and client satisfaction. Our partnership will help Cooper Parry do more for its people and clients. We will support Ade and the team to accelerate M&A ambitions building on our experiences in the same market with Moore Belgium.

Oliver Bevan, Principal and Head of UK at Waterland Private Equity commented: “We are pleased to welcome Cooper Parry to the Waterland family. This partnership is the culmination of a year of work and is a great example of Waterland’s pro-active, market led approach to origination. We are excited to support Ade and the team on the next stage of the journey.”

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