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Crisis deepens at MJ Hudson as auditor EY resigns 

The crisis engulfing MJ Hudson, the stricken asset management services provider, will deepen on Monday when it discloses that its auditor has resigned.

Sky News has learnt that the London-listed company will announce that EY has quit less than 18 months after being appointed.

The timing of EY’s resignation, coming so soon after its appointment, is highly unusual and will underline growing concerns about MJ Hudson’s finances.

The company has parachuted in an interim finance chief following the announcement that it had suspended Peter Connell, the former chief financial officer.

MJ Hudson, which floated on London’s junior stock market on the day of the 2019 general election, is an asset management consultancy which advises on issues such as sustainability and helping clients to benchmark themselves against their competitors.

In December, it announced that its shares were being suspended after being made “aware of…issues, including in relation to the reporting of historical trading of the business in relation to [fiscal year] 2022, the full impact of which is unclear”.

EY assumed responsibility for the MJ Hudson audit in the 2021 financial year.

This weekend, it was unclear whether its role had attracted interest from the audit watchdog.

MJ Hudson already warned investors in October that it was in discussions with its auditors about adjustments to its full-year figures.

It added more recently that it had also appointed external accounting advisers to assist it “in achieving the necessary clarity to enable the year-end FY 2022 reporting to be completed”.

MJ Hudson’s shares were suspended at 13.13p, leaving it with a market value of just £26.7m – down two-thirds on a year earlier.

The company has received takeover interest in a number of its operations from With Intelligence, which is owned by the investment firm Intermediate Capital Group (ICG), and Inflexion Private Equity.

The appetite of both of those suitors is said to have cooled.

MJ Hudson confirmed in a statement last month that it had “received a number of inbound indications of interest for certain divisions of the business and has engaged advisers Alvarez & Marsal to look at a potential sale of one or a number of its business lines”.

Spokesmen for MJ Hudson and EY both declined to comment on Sunday evening.