International legal recruitment firm becomes employee-owned
We’re pleased to have supported the shareholders at legal recruitment consultancy SSQ in the sale of the business, which will now operate as an Employee Ownership Trust.
SSQ is a leading legal search and recruitment consultancy with a gross fee income of £33 million across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Our Corporate Finance team was instructed as lead advisers to the shareholders, working with the executive team to explore all options for the business.
Having reviewed the various possibilities, it was clear that an Employee Ownership Trust would provide the shareholders with their desired outcome while also giving the company and its employees a platform for continued growth.
The employee ownership structure provides long-term stability for the company’s 90 employees, while also enabling them to share in the potential financial rewards that the new structure facilitates and promotes.
Partner Dave Howes and Director James Cooper, both in our Corporate Finance team in Norwich, designed the deal structure, creating a detailed financial model, drafting the Heads of Terms and preparing a detailed share valuation for the directors and the Trustees of the Employee Ownership Trust.
Under the new structure, the shareholders sell 100% of their holding to an Employee Ownership Trust for an undisclosed sum. Employees do not become direct shareholders in the company but have an indirect ‘ownership’ through the Trust and will potentially be entitled to an annual tax-free bonus, depending on the company’s financial performance.
Jonathan Field, Joint Group CEO of SSQ, said: “Dave, James and the team at FRP were a delight to deal with, delivered outstanding and succinct advice and added immeasurable value to our Board’s deliberations. Their recommendations following a review of our strategic options have culminated in the right outcome for our employee colleagues, SSQ’s ongoing management team and our selling shareholders.”
Founded in 2003, London-headquartered SSQ has 11 international offices and works with law firms and businesses in the commerce, industry and financial services sectors to build their legal teams at all levels of seniority, including partner moves, team moves, office launches and senior in-house placements.
Dave Howes, Partner at FRP Corporate Finance, added: “This is a fantastic outcome for the team at SSQ and creates an organisation with a new structure that can effectively drive employee engagement and business performance going forward. We’re seeing more and more business owners appreciating the benefits of the Employee Ownership model, which offers an increasingly attractive succession route and far less disruptive than other exit options.”
Employee ownership trust
This transaction is an important milestone in the exciting future of SSQ and we look forward to watching the continued growth and success of the business under their new ownership model.Dave Howes Corporate Finance