The sale of a family business, or any privately-owned company is often the most important business transaction a client will ever undertake. The difference between success and failure represents a lifetime's work or even the work of several generations of family. Similarly, the sale by a Group of a subsidiary or division is likely to be crucial to the Group's financial prosperity.
Cole Associates' approach is to invest time in the planning stage of a disposal mandate, ensuring understanding of the owner's objectives and the unique attributes of the business that contribute to its value. This enables us to focus on identifying the purchasers who will stand to benefit most from acquiring the business and who are therefore likely to pay the highest price: It is very much a case of 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. We also recognise the paramount importance of confidentiality throughout the process.
Cole Associates' role in a disposal mandate is as follows.
- Grooming the business for sale - Identifying ways in which the business can be most attractively presented for sale. For example, making sure all accounts and regulatory returns are filed up to date, and, if it is appropriate, making sure the business has an attractive website.
- Identifying the unique value attributes of the business.
- Research to identify potential trade purchasers and the benefits for each of them of buying the client's business.
- Reviewing prospects for an MBO or MBI.
The sale process:
- Preparation of the Information Memorandum and related supporting information.
- Marketing the business to the professional community.
- Approaching potential trade purchasers and MBI teams to determine their level of interest.
- Approaching the MBO team, if there is one.
- Handling the provision of information and negotiations with the short list of likely purchasers.
- Advice on the relative merits of indicative offers, leading to the selection of a 'preferred purchaser'.
- Detailed negotiations with the 'preferred purchaser', through Heads of Terms, their due diligence process and on to the preparation of detailed legal agreements.
- Project managing the sale process, coordinating the activity of all those involved, to facilitate a prompt completion.