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Summary

If you’re planning to sell your business, how can you make sure you’ll get the best price?

3 min read

When you decide to sell your business after years of hard work, having the right people to advise you and facilitate the process can help you achieve the best possible deal. We work with our clients and help them build the right team for a successful exit from our panel of carefully chosen corporate finance firms. 

The panel provides specialist advice to help mid-market companies deal with key moments in their development, from expansion to exit. They operate across a range of industry sectors, and geographic regions, giving the breadth of coverage needed to identify potential buyers in the UK and across the globe. Among them is Cavendish Corporate Finance, which specialises in selling companies valued at between £10 million and £150 million. 

“It’s always about giving clients confidence that we have thought about it and brought the whole world to their doorstep”

Panel of experts

Cavendish was recently the adviser in the sale of an insurance brokerage, which sold for almost twice the amount expected for a business in the sector because Cavendish was able to position it as a technology company to potential buyers thanks to its sophisticated digital platform. Caroline Belcher, Partner and Head of Exit Planning at Cavendish, explains that a brokerage business would typically sell for six or seven times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), but by positioning it around the technology they were able to push this into double figures.

Many of the firms within the corporate finance panel have international networks that can be useful in the search for a buyer. Livingstone Partners, for example, has offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Stockholm, Dusseldorf, Beijing and Madrid. The company is able to identify potential buyers across the world by combining regional presence with sector expertise. Partner Jeremy Furniss explains: “It’s always about giving clients confidence that we have thought about it and brought the whole world to their doorstep. If, at the end of the day, it’s a UK buyer, at least they have the peace of mind of knowing we have been through an exhaustive exercise.”

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Preparing for exit

At Coutts, we can help entrepreneurs to understand the exit options available, such as a trade sale, an initial public offering (IPO) or an equity sale. Other important details include whether the owner is planning to leave immediately or whether they are selling themselves with the business. Once these things are understood, the corporate finance advisor aims to position the business to attract the best possible multiple of EBITDA and identify the most likely kinds of buyers so that the company can be made as attractive as possible.

“Sales preparation involves making sure the business can withstand a purchasers’ rigorous due diligence review,” Caroline says. “Getting all your accounts in order, building a set of growth projections and a financial model for your business, and making sure you have all your legal documentation in order is also an important part of the preparation.”

For many of our clients, selling their business is an initial step on a wider wealth journey. In addition to providing the support and tools their businesses need our experts are also on hand to provide that same support to them and their families. For centuries, Coutts has been the bank of pioneers. Today, we are proud to work with over 20,000 of the UK’s most talented and innovative entrepreneurs.

Key Takeaways

Coutts works with clients through every stage of their entrepreneurial journey.  When it’s time for them to sell their businesses, we collaborate with trusted partners to help them through the process and to move seamlessly into post-exit life. 

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As the first private bank and wealth manager to establish a dedicated service for entrepreneurs and business owners, Coutts is well known for our understanding of the dynamic world of entrepreneurship.

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