Listed accounting and financial services group Count Financial Ltd has bought a 25 per cent shareholding in West Perth firm RLF Bentleys Pty Ltd, formerly Rix Levy Fowler, for just under $1 million.
Count has paid a total of $989,000, comprising $198,000 in cash and $791,000 in Count shares.
It has also obtained an option to buy the remaining 75 per cent of RLF on agreed pricing at its discretion from July 1 2011 or by agreement before that date.
The transaction followed Rix Levy Fowler becoming the exclusive Bentleys licencee for Western Australia.
That, in turn, followed a major realigment among Perth’s mid-tier accounting firms during 2007, which included:
• the former Bentleys MRI practice becoming a member of the global Grant Thornton network;
• the former Grant Thornton practice becoming WHK Horwath; and
• the former BDO and Horwath practices merging to trade as BDO Kendalls, which has become the 6th biggest accounting practice in the state, according to WA Business News Book of Lists.
RLF has traditionally had a substantial audit practice, servicing smaller listed companies, and has become more active as an investigating accountant for initial public offerings. It has one of the biggest client lists of ASX-listed companies based in Perth, but sits outside the top 10 in terms of billings in that sector.
It has revenue of $3.6 million and $56 million in funds under advice through its financial planning practice, which was an existing Count franchisee.
It has four directors, including managing director Phillip Rix, and a total of 20 staff, according to the Book of Lists.
The RLF purchase price was based on a maintainable EBITAP (earnings before interest and tax after principal’s salaries) of $901,000, Count said in a statement.