New owner for search firm

Souter Investments sells First Scottish to multinational group

Brian Souter

Sir Brian Souter: exits First Scottish (pic: Terry Murden)


Souter Investments has sold First Scottish Group, the independent search firm, to an international private investment group.

First Scottish provides searches for solicitors, conveyancers, estate agents, financial institutions and local authorities.

The new undisclosed owner has interests across a variety of sectors and specialism in health care, technology, insurance and financial services.

The First Scottish management team, led by group managing director Ian Fraser, will remain with the company and the business will continue to trade under the First Scottish brand.

Souter Investments and exiting shareholders were advised by KPMG and Addleshaw Goddard, supported by CMS, Lindsays and Thomson Cooper.

Mr Fraser said: “Having enjoyed a long period under Souter Investments’ ownership, during which First Scottish has gone from strength to strength, we are enthusiastic about our new relationship with our new owners, whose outlook and approach is very much aligned with our goals.”

He added: “We are committed to retaining the identity and culture of First Scottish, recognising the strength of the company’s reputation. So, it remains business as usual.”

The sale of First Scottish continues a busy period for Souter Investments following recent investments in DMC Canotec, one of Britain’s largest providers of managed print and document management services; Broadway Partners, a provider of broadband services in rural areas, and, the ‘EdTech’ transport specialist.

John Berthinussen, investment director at Souter Investments, who steps down as chairman of First Scottish, added: “Ian and his team at First Scottish have built a strong, market leading business.

“The company is well positioned as it enters the next stage of its development under new long-term ownership. We wish Ian and his team every success in the future.”

Souter Investments is the family investment office of Sir Brian Souter, co-founder and chairman of Stagecoach, the transport group. It invests across a range of asset classes, with a primary focus on private equity and a portfolio of more than 30 direct private equity investments.

It has recently completed the sales of its holdings in Baywater Healthcare UK and Endura, whilst portfolio company Ashtead Technology announced a joint venture with Forum Subsea Rentals, a subsidiary of Forum Energy Technologies, creating a provider of subsea survey and remote operated vehicle (ROV) equipment rental and associated services.

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