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John Farnsworth

Partner, Derby

Direct line: 01332 374419

My expertise

Corporate Finance


I lead the dedicated Corporate Finance division of Smith Cooper which was established in 1999. I have been a Corporate Finance specialist for over 20 years. I am one of a specialist team of Corporate Finance specialists in our Derby, Nottingham and Birmingham offices. I am responsible for pro-active creation of deals and advising corporate and owner managed business clients on all forms of deals. I am a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, head of the food sector, and an equity partner.

What can I do for your organisation?

I provide intensive management of corporate acquisitions, management buy-outs, mergers and sales for mid-corporate and owner-managed businesses. Our aim is to really understand the aspirations of the clients we work for; that way we can create innovative tailor-made solutions which optimise the transaction for the client, ensure it is at the best value, swiftly and efficiently delivered, and with minimum risk. Our deals range up to £35m in deal size and, by allocating team members who specialise in a specific size range and sector - we ensure clients get the best possible service.

I also provide succession planning advice, help prepare businesses for sale, assist with business planning and fundraising and can provide target search services for companies, private equity firms or individuals wanting to acquire.

I have particular specialisms in the food and drink, franchise and QSR sectors, and also have significant experience in the childrens’ nursery, care, engineering and retail sectors. Others in Smith Cooper have specialisms in other sectors, but our deal management principles and fastidious methodology is easily applied to all sectors and, to that extent, I transact deals in all sectors.

Experience counts

I am a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and hold the CF (corporate finance) qualification of the Institute, a qualification widely recognised as the global standard for corporate financiers.

I qualified with a small firm in 1982, gaining accounts preparation and tax skills, before moving to KPMG shortly after qualifying. I became a senior manager in the General Practice department at KPMG which at that time had a good number of PLC clients which regularly produced corporate finance work such as takeovers, mergers and listings governed by the stock exchange “yellow book”.

In 1993 I took a position in the newly formed Corporate Finance unit in the Nottingham office of KPMG; this focused mainly on unlisted corporate and owner managed company purchases, sales and buy-outs rather than listed PLC work. I held this role for around 6 years completing numerous transactions working for a wide range of clients including PLCs, local authorities and individuals.

I left KPMG to join Smith Cooper in 1999. I continue to service the mid-corporate and owner managed business sector that has been largely neglected by the ‘big four’ accountancy firms who target bigger businesses.

Deeper knowledge

I have experience in a wide range of sectors including, food and drink (manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing), franchising, retail childrens' nurseries, pharmacies, engineering (aero, nuclear, rail, heavy, other), print/packaging and outsourcing. Whilst  remaining  a sector generalist I have specific expertise in the food sector, and especially in fast food franchise dealing mainly with International brands such as KFC, Costa, Domino’s, Pizza Hut and the like where we have advised on over 40 assignments (nationally and internationally) and acted as expert witness. I have also done many deals in the aerospace engineering, specialist/precision engineering, retail and food manufacturing/wholesale arenas.

Personally speaking

I am married with four children. I am a keen mountain biker, a keen recreational skier, swimmer and occasional fell runner. I also enjoy watching motorsports, my favourite being Moto GP bike racing.

I like cars and all things mechanical and have a passion for old buildings and DIY (a good job as my home is a long term restoration project!).