National IFA abandons IPO in favour of trade sale?

Ascot Lloyd, which had been working towards an AIM listing last Autumn which fell through, is rumoured to be in late-stage talks with consolidator Bellpenny, in a U-turn which could see the national IFA selling up.
The acquisition of Ascot Lloyd, should it happen, very much suits Bellpenny’s more recent acquisition approach, of fewer, larger deals.  The consolidator has made more than 30 acquisitions, making integration and alignment difficult.
In a bid to refocus, the consolidator has focussed on bigger businesses in the last 18 months, completing only one deal in January – the 11 adviser firm EFG Independent Financial Advisers.
Ascot Lloyd, who have 11 offices and more than 50 advisers looking after 22,000 clients, are  themselves not shy of an acquisition, having completed in the region of 35, with the most recent being Harvard Financial Managed, brokered by ourselves, Gunner & Co.  Their deal flow has slowed considerably since the failed IPO last year, while they looked at what the future may hold.
Neither party has commented, so it’s watch this space for now.