Hayes Knight accounting and planning business sold

28 November 2013

Listed investment company Easton Investments will pay $13.11 million to acquire stakes in Hayes Knight (NSW) and its financial planning business Merit Wealth.

The deal will also result in Easton acquiring stakes in accountancy support services firm Knowledge Shop, and in self-managed superannuation fund administration service Superssentials.

Easton managing director Kevin White said the purchase was part of the group's move "of creating a significant distribution capability in the Australian accounting and financial services sector" with further acquisitions expected.

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White is the founder and former managing director of WHK Limited, which has since been renamed as Crowe Horwath. After the acquisition White will become joint managing director with Hayes Knight chief executive Greg Hayes, who will also join the board of Easton.

The acquisition will result in Easton acquiring 30 per cent of Hayes Knight NSW, 100 per cent of Knowledge Shop and Merit Wealth and 50 per cent of Superssentials. The other 50 per cent of the latter will remain with affiliated accountancy firm Hayes Knight Queensland.

Easton stated it had purchased the businesses due to their interconnected nature and that they have been developed under a distribution strategy that created further growth opportunities.

Easton said binding agreements around the acquisition are expected to be drawn up by early December, with the transaction to take place in early 2014 subject to shareholder approval.

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