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James Cowper Kreston strengthens Corporate Finance team with new Head of Transaction Services

21 February 2012

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Accountants and business advisers James Cowper Kreston has strengthened its Corporate Finance team with the appointment of Graham Carr as Head of Transaction Services.

Graham joined James Cowper Kreston on 8th February following a career with a ‘Big Four’ accountancy firm advising private equity houses, corporates and banks on acquisitions, disposals and financing.  He will build on the considerable successes of James Cowper Kreston’s Corporate Finance team, which carries out a broad range of assignments including due diligence for banks and corporates through to advising on complex international acquisitions and disposals.

Commenting on his appointment, Graham said: “James Cowper Kreston has a terrific brand and reputation across the Thames Valley and south coast.  Its award winning Corporate Finance team has been involved in some of the biggest and most interesting regional deals over the past few years and I am looking forward to contributing further to its success by providing next generation financial due diligence services.”

Nick Rogers, Partner and Head of James Cowper Kreston’s Corporate Finance team adds: “Our clients look to James Cowper Kreston for commercial advice and solutions.  Graham has a strong track record in providing real value to clients through understanding their needs, robust due diligence and providing opinions.  He will be a terrific asset to the team and to clients.”

James Cowper Kreston has a nine strong Corporate Finance practice working across its Reading, Oxford, Newbury, Southampton and London offices.

What is the value of due diligence?

Clients looking to invest or acquire a business should always invest in financial due diligence before committing to a transaction, as the following recent example demonstrates.

In January 2011, Graham saved a private equity investor financial pain and potential embarrassment following a due diligence exercise.  The investor had, on the basis of the target’s historic results and financial forecasts, agreed to make a sizeable investment... subject to due diligence.

Graham intuitively knew something was askew and rebuilt the historic financial information from system trial balances rather than rely on the management accounts.

“It transpired that the information provided by the vendor was based on one legal entity which was the limited company to be acquired, when in fact there were three other companies under common ownership that were incurring costs in delivering the work provided by the target company,” said Graham.

These other costs were worked into the analysis to provide an accurate picture of the current financial performance of the target business operations.

“In this case, the target was fundamentally a decent business but a number of milestones would need to be achieved to significantly reduce the risk of buying it,” added Graham.  “Consequently, the client has the acquisition on hold until those milestones are achieved.”

Graham Carr, Head of Transaction Services, James Cowper Kreston LLP, Tel +44 (0)2380 221222 or email gcarr@jamescowper.co.uk