Kingsbridge widens sports star client net

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The Independent Online

Kingsbridge Holdings, which specialises in financial services for sports and entertainment clients, will add Premier League football players such as Gary McAllister and Dominic Matteo to its client list with its £13.3m acquisition of Benson McGarvey, the sports management group.

Kingsbridge, which floated on the Alternative Investment Market in July, is paying £7m in cash and loan notes, as well as issuing a further 8.3 million shares at 78p. It will also issue up to £3m of stock if Benson McGarvey meets earnings targets from now to 31 August next year. Analysts expect the deal to enhance earnings from day one.

The acquisition will bring Kingsbridge 6,000 extra clients, including 100 sports personalities. It completes a recent buying spree for Kingsbridge, based in Nottingham, which has helped it to broaden its geographical spread to cover Glasgow, Harrogate and London and strengthen its infrastructure.

Martin Greenwood, chief executive of Kingsbridge, said yesterday's deal removed one of its main competitors from the sector: "It was an exact fit for our company moving forward and will enable us to continue our strategy of growing our sports-related client base."

More than 2,000 of Kingsbridge's 18,000 clients are sports personalities, including the football stars Andy Cole and David O'Leary. With players' wages topping £40,000 a week, managing the wealth of this new breed of super-rich player is a growing business. David McKee and Kevin McMenamin, the joint managing directors of Kingsbridge, handle the company's footballing clients, whose short savings year and early retirement generates a strong appetite for savings products to help their salaries last a lifetime.

Nick Batram, sports and leisure analyst at Granville Baird, said: "Kingsbridge has an interesting business model in a fragmented market, which offers an opportunity for consolidation." Shares were unchanged at 71.5p. It floated at 25p.

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