Accountancy franchise TaxAssist Accountants has carried out the UK's first ever franchisee assisted management buyout (MBO).
The deal means the company will be owned 32% by franchisees, 53% by senior management team and 15% by long-standing external business partners.
The value of the deal is yet undisclosed. According to sources close to the deal, TaxAssist had been approached by a number of suitors in recent months but decided to go down the franchisee assisted MBO route in the end.
John Westgarth, TaxAssist founder, will not retire as chairman and director.
Karl Sandall, chief executive of the TaxAssist Group, said the buyout was a first in the UK and internationally.
"Franchise operations have been bought by their management teams, but as far as we are aware never in partnership with their franchisees.
"More than half of our network, including franchisees and their staff, have invested in the business and many more have expressed an interest in buying shares in the future as they are placed on our internal market," he said.
Included on the board is Karl Sandall, who spent 26 years in senior management at HSBC before joining TaxAssist in 2000. Joining him in the buyout team are TaxAssist directors Sarah Robertson (business development) and Phil Sullivan (network operations and finance).
They will be supported by two non-executive directors, John Chambers, corporate and commercial consultant with Ashton KCJ Solicitors and a representative appointed to represent the franchisees interests.
TaxAssist has 190 franchisees in the UK, with a fee income of more than £30m.
The businesses was founded in 1995 and has expanded across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. This year, the franchise model was introduced in Canada and is set to launch in Australia, New Zealand and the United States in 2015.