Oval is believed to be eying Birmingham-based broker Perkins Slade

Oval is believed to be eying Birmingham-based broker Perkins Slade, one of a handful of medium sized independent brokers left following the recent acquisition frenzy.

Perkins Slade, which has a brokerage of more than £7m according to its most recent accounts, has a large corporate division. Market sources say it would be a good fit for Oval, which last year outlined its plans to make four major acquisitions in 2008.

John Wade, operations director of Perkins Slade, admitted that Oval had been linked to the business. He added that JLT, AXA and Jelf had also been named as potential suitors.

He said: “There is nothing I can say about individual approaches. We get approached by a number of companies on a regular basis. It is no secret that [chief executive] David Slade is coming up to retirement but he is known for running an independent business.”

He added: “We’re as much in play as any other large, independent broker that has a size of book and the quality of staff that we have here. There is no bid on the table that we believe we are happy to accept.”

Jeff Herdman, group managing director of Oval, refused to deny that Oval were in discussions with Perkins Slade and confirmed that more acquisitions were in the pipeline.

In November Oval chief executive Phillip Hodson said the group would also look to double its revenues to £140m by the middle of the 2008 after revealing a war chest of £120m following an Allianz investment in the broker.