Administrators were appointed to top 50 firm Ince & Co on the day the acquisition of the UK business was confirmed by listed outfit Gordon Dadds, it has emerged.

A notice posted in the London Gazette on 31 December discloses that insolvency specialist Quantuma was appointed to handle the administration on 31 December. 

That was the day Gordon Dadds confirmed to the stockmarket it had completed the acquisition of Ince & Co’s UK business and practices in Shanghai and Beijing. The deal did not include the independent network of Ince firms in Germany, Greece, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. They continue to trade under the Ince name. 

Gordon Dadds’s announcement to the London stock exchange did not mention that Ince & Co had entered administration. The firm acquired the business for a total consideration of £27.3m in a pre-pack deal. The deal included the transfer of 24 equity partners who have committed to Ince Gordon Dadds for a minimum of 18 months. 

A pre-pack deal enables the sale of a business as a ‘going concern’ without impacting on the continuity of business operations upon appointment of an administrator. It can preserve the value of assets - particularly ‘work in progress’ and debtors.

The scale of any sums owed by the legacy Ince holding company is unclear. The Gazette has contacted both Quantuma and Gordon Dadds for comment. 

Ince & Co’s most recent full accounts, published at Companies House last year and covering the year ending 30 April 2017, show operating profit rose 46% year-on-year to almost £11.2m, while turnover increased almost 10% to £51.6m. The profit attributable to the member with the highest entitlement to profit went up from £350,000 to £550,000. 

Since the acquisition, Ince Gordon Dadds has confirmed the appointment of Peter Rogan as a non-executive director with immediate effect.

Rogan, 68, was an insurance and reinsurance lawyer at Ince & Co and was the senior partner between 2000 and 2008, since when he has continued to advise the firm on a consultancy basis.