Snapshot

Ask an expert: "Our business exit has fallen through: what are our options?"


Background

Our clients, a married couple, have run a very successful family business for 19 years. Over time, they have received numerous approaches from private equity firms and competitors to buy their company.

Just over a year ago, they decided that they were ready to step back from full-time executive roles and consider a sale of the business. We helped make an introduction to the appropriate corporate advisers and conversations soon developed with a trade buyer. Our clients worked closely with the corporate finance house and proceeded through months of due diligence. They were expecting to receive approximately £11m from the sale of the business.

Our team at Cazenove Capital worked closely with the couple’s accountant and tax adviser to help them take advantage of pre-exit planning opportunities and clarify their longer-term objectives. The clients intended to place some of the sale proceeds into private equity investments that they were particularly excited about. This included an investment in a close friend’s business, with strong growth prospects.

In the final stages of the deal, the buyer unexpectedly decided to extract themselves from the transaction due to increasing concern about a UK recession. With no notice, our clients were told that “everything was off.”

Key needs

This was a particularly stressful time for our clients. They were “psychologically ready” to close the deal and progress to the next chapter of their life. They were also concerned about missing out on the private equity opportunity. The clients had an option to take funds from an investment portfolio that we manage for them. However, they were reluctant to do this given recent market volatility.

The corporate finance house was speaking with other potential buyers and exploring alternative exit options. We had built a team of advisers around our clients and were therefore able to use this time to reflect, consider the various proposals and discuss what they actually needed in terms of net sale proceeds.

Our solution

The client’s immediate need was for funding to allow them to participate in the private equity opportunity. We engaged our banking team and arranged a lending facility within one week, secured against their existing Cazenove Capital portfolio. The clients did not need to disturb this portfolio and were able to avoid any complexities linked to capital gains tax if certain investments were sold.

We had several meetings with the clients and used our personal cashflow forecasting software to help frame conversations around the exit strategy and sale proceeds. We were able to forecast several different scenarios over the course of their lifetime and this really helped our clients take control when assessing the proposals that were now being received. They had a strong preference for one prospective buyer, even though their bid was somewhat lower than those tabled by others.

Based on our cashflow forecasts, it became very apparent that they would be able to achieve their longer-term personal financial objectives even if they accepted the lower bid. They proceeded with that buyer and successfully sold the business. It was very pleasing to be able to help inform and guide our clients through this turbulent process and work closely with other professional advisers to achieve the best outcome for our clients.

Statements concerning taxation are based on our understanding of the taxation law in force at the time of publication. The levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation may change. You should obtain professional advice on taxation where appropriate before proceeding with any investment.

This article is issued by Cazenove Capital which is part of the Schroders Group and a trading name of Schroder & Co. Limited, 1 London Wall Place, London EC2Y 5AU. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. 

Nothing in this document should be deemed to constitute the provision of financial, investment or other professional advice in any way. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

This document may include forward-looking statements that are based upon our current opinions, expectations and projections. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements.

All data contained within this document is sourced from Cazenove Capital unless otherwise stated.