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James Cowper Kreston advises Hampshire recruiters Compass on investment

11 April 2024
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Compass Recruitment Solutions has secured the backing of Brighton investors Cow Corner to accelerate its growth, with advice from James Cowper Kreston.

Founded in 2010 by Mike Jeffreys, Chris Russell and Sam Leighton-Smith, the business now employs 150 people across its Portsmouth headquarters and offices in London, Manchester and Raleigh (US).

Compass focuses on companies and investors across the health, care, education and life sciences markets – both in the UK and, increasingly, internationally.

This latest investment will enable organic growth into existing and adjacent markets and acquisition-driven consolidation of the UK and international markets.

The company also plans to invest in digital capabilities and implementing AI into its operations.

Group MD Sam Leighton-Smith said: “We’re delighted to welcome Cow Corner as a shareholder and partner to Compass.

“Their track record of working with founder lead businesses and helping them evolve will be hugely valuable for our next period of growth.

“Their unique style of trust, friendship and support will enable us to deliver on our strategy faster, while always focusing on providing customer excellence to our trusted client partners.”

Chris Woolley, partner at Cow Corner, added: “We’re looking forward to working with Sam and the broader team at Compass as we continue to invest in the strong brand and franchise that the founders have built over the last 14 years.

“We’re excited to be backing one of the leading recruiters in the sector, and already have a good understanding of many of the market dynamics through our investment in Person Centred Software, the leading provider of care planning software to the care sector.”

Stewart Lambert led the team from James Cowper Kreston Corporate Finance advising Compass on the deal, which sees Brighton-based Cow Corner take a significant stake in the business.

He added: “Sam, Mike and Chris have built a fantastic business, and the investment will enable Compass to accelerate growth to build scale in the health, life science and social care sectors.

“We look forward to continuing to work with both Compass and Cow Corner as they build on their award-winning recruitment solution business.”

Compass also sought legal advice from Blake Morgan and tax advice from Freestone Jacobs.

Check out this acquisition alongside other deals across the region on our Deal Ticket


Born and raised in Berkshire, Dan fell into journalism after completing his bachelor’s degree in English at UCL.

Writing for The Business Magazine and local Biz News sites has given him the opportunity to chat with all manner of small business owners and share their success stories with a wider audience.

Outside of work, Dan enjoys live music, board games and quiz shows, and is making a slow but persistent effort to learn Spanish.

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