National IFA Inter-Alliance is buying Midlands IFA Heartland for £2.5m in a deal fun- ded by a £4m loan from Friends Provident The cut-price cash deal for Heartland is based on £750,000 to be paid for the firm's net commission still to accrue plus a further £1.75m payable depending on how many of Heartland's 175 self-employed RIs switch to Inter-Alliance. The remaining £1.5m will be used as working capital and to support future growth.
Heartland last year valued itself at £25m but readjusted this figure to £15m last September due to market conditions.
But because staff and management refused to sacrifice their independence by having product providers invest in the firm, it tried to raise capital by offering RIs £1.5m of shares in the company but this was also given a thumbs down.
Other companies were approached but they did not consider the firm to be a good fit for their business until Inter-Alliance stepped in.
Heartland was set up by chief executive Tony Weaver in Birmingham in 1995. The firm opened more offices in Cardiff, St Albans and Nottingham, areas where InterAlliance is keen to expand as it has few RIs in these locations.
This latest deal is part of Inter-Alliance's expansion plans to widen distribution and increase its RIs to 1,350. Chairman and chief executive Keith Carby says: “It has become extremely difficult for smaller organisations to operate because of what is going on out there at the moment.
“This is a superb deal for us and the Heartland advisers. The firm is an excellent geographical and cultural match.”