Optionis acquires First Freelance and First Umbrella

Provider of professional services to the flexible workforce Optionis has acquired contractor accountancy firm First Freelance and its sister umbrella company First Five Projects, which trades as First Umbrella.

L-r: Reece Harrod, Mark Beal-Preston and Carlo Fardella

The deal will increase Optionis Group’s presence in the market, in which it already has six brands, including umbrella provider Parasol and ClearSky Contractor Accounting, across the UK. Both First Freelance and First Umbrella are based in London, although they offer their services throughout the UK.

The three founders – managing director Mark Beal-Preston, commercial director Reece Harrod and operations director Carlo Fardella – will remain with the businesses to help scale their operation and support the growth of the wider group of companies. 

Derek Kelly, CEO of Optionis Group, said: “First Freelance and First Umbrella are well-regarded, fast-growth businesses, which complement the existing group of companies we have within the Optionis Group. We are very pleased the three founders are remaining with the businesses to continue to drive their growth with our support, while also being able to provide valuable insight and leadership into activities across the group.”

Advice to the First Freelance and First Umbrella shareholders was provided by Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance’s Carl Swansbury, with support from Alex Simpson. Legal advice was provided by Fladgate’s Ian Brent and Diana Mennie.

Optionis Group was advised by BDO, led by Chris Heatlie with legal advice from DWF’s Paul Rimmer, and support from Will Munday.

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