Broker Smart & Cook has signed heads of agreement to buy Oughtred & Harrison's commercial insurance broking portfolio as part of a drive into the South West.

The deal, revealed exclusively in last week's Insurance Times, is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Both companies pledged to consult staff in the meantime.

Smart & Cook, with an existing strong base in the north of England, will be acquiring the business at all seven Oughtred & Harrison commercial offices in Hull, Grimsby, Lincoln, Leeds, Clitheroe, Ludlow and Chippenham.

Smart & Cook chairman Geoff Cook said: "We are delighted to be acquiring such a well established broker and look forward to meeting all Oughtred & Harrison clients.

"This is an important move for us, in that it combines consolidation of our existing offices with expansion into the South West."

An Oughtred & Harrison spokesman said: "Smart & Cook is highly respected in the market and this move offers both customers and staff significant benefits."

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the sale will help the Oughtred & Harrison group invest in its ambulance making business through a new factory at Goole, North Humberside.