Optionis Group bolsters SME Services business

MML Capital’s latest investment, the Optionis Group, has completed its first acquisition of 2014, as it continues to build its ClearSky brand into a ‘one-stop shop’ for SME’s.

The outsourced support services provider to SMEs, recruitment firms and professional contractors has acquired Dorset-based accountancy practice Wheatley Pearce for an undisclosed sum.

Established in 1881, Wheatley Pearce is one of the oldest independent accountancy practices in Britain. Its founder, Colonel Wheatley, was a founding member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Today the firm has a client portfolio consisting of more than 350 small and medium-sized businesses.

Under the terms of the deal, Wheatley Pearce will become part of ClearSky. Current owners Ken Butcher and Greg Bemment are staying on full time and will continue to work closely with clients.

Wheatley Pearce is the third accountancy practice to be acquired by Optionis in the past year. The deal follows takeovers of Greater Manchester-based Michael Brookes & Co in May 2013, and Dorset-based Lofts & Co four months later.

In addition to accountancy, ClearSky Business now offers small firms fixed-fee support and advice on business functions including tax, payroll, human resources and employment law.

Optionis managing director Derek Kelly said:

“This latest acquisition will enhance even further the range of services that we offer small and medium-sized businesses. We are pleased that the current owners have agreed to stay on board and help us build ClearSky into the go-to provider of support to Britain’s growing army of SMEs.”

Wheatley Pearce co-owner Ken Butcher said:

“Greg and I are extremely excited to become part of the ClearSky success story. It really will be a case of business as usual, but with the added benefit that we will now be able to offer our clients access to a wider range of services.”

As well as ClearSky Business, the Optionis group is home to ClearSky Contractor Accounting, employment services provider Parasol and cloud-based sales performance management software Silverline.

Group turnover for the current financial year is forecast to be £335m.

Law firm DWF advised Optionis on the Wheatley Pearce deal.

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