buying a Business

Accelerating Growth

Does your strategic growth plan include buying a business? Whether it’s to become an owner, strengthen your market position or to expand your existing portfolio, our advisory services and M&A experts help individuals and management teams to buy a business at the right price, on the right terms, and with the right funding in place.

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Myles Hamilton
Helping you buy a business

SHOULD I BUY A BUSINESS?

The advantages of buying an established business can be achieving scale more quickly, acquiring a capability that your organisation doesn’t have, or it can simply be a route to business ownership (through an MBI or MBO) which fulfils a personal ambition.

But buying a business requires a large up-front investment, a significant amount of due diligence and careful management of internal and external stakeholders. And, you must also remember that you’ll be paying forward many years' profits, so you need to ensure the purchase will return this investment - and more.  

WHO DO WE WORK WITH?

We work with seasoned entrepreneurs and high quality management teams in UK SMEs and small-cap PLCs that have the ambition to achieve scale by acquiring or merging with other businesses. In merger and acquisition transactions we often act as an outsourced Corporate Development team helping our clients meet their strategic growth goals.

See our deals and success stories.

BUYING A BUSINESS - HOW TO GET IT WRONG

Regardless of route, buying a business is not a trivial endeavour – it’s stressful, time consuming and fraught with risk if approached in the wrong way. A considered and professional approach is critical to ensure that you end up buying the right business at the right price, and that the value is maintained after the deal is done.

Typical mistakes that individuals frequently make when trying to buy a business include:

  • Failure to define acquisition criteria that meets strategic goals in advance;
  • An overly bullish assessment of targets and defining criteria ‘on the fly’ to justify opportunities;
  • Taking an unstructured approach to assessing the market, thus failing to find the most suitable targets;
  • Unrealistic valuations resulting in failure to secure targets, or worse still overpaying;
  • Inefficient processes resulting in the absorption of significant management time;
  • Deficient due diligence resulting the acquisition of unexpected risks;
  • Unstructured approach to communications with internal and external stakeholders;
  • Lack of post transaction integration plan to best protect acquired value.

BUYING A BUSINESS – HOW TO DO IT RIGHT

To successfully buy a business, your acquisition strategy needs to achieve these key objectives:

  1. Set out your acquisition criteria, thinking carefully about what best drives your own strategy;
  2. Take a structured approach to identifying targets that meet those criteria so you can develop a pipeline of potential targets;
  3. Develop a professional approach strategy to deliver the conversations you need with potential sellers;
  4. Have a clear view on valuation and ensure you are able to offer and justify market pricing;
  5. Make sure you have a well-defined process from offer to completion that ensures risks are identified and mitigated;
  6. Develop a robust post-acquisition integration plan that protects value.

buy-side merger and acquisition ADVICE & SERVICES

By using our "buy-side" advisory services, our M&A experts will ensure that you identify the right targets to build your business portfolio, secure the deal, pay the right price and manage associated risks. We can also help you secure business financing if you don't have the funds in place to make the purchase. These are the different ways we can help you to buy a business:

AQUIRING A BUSINESS

Our M&A experts can help you find and acquire the right business to support your strategic growth objectives.

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MANAGEMENT BUY-IN (MBI)

Our M&A experts offer buy-side advice to help you develop the opportunity to acquire your next business supported by credible finding packages.

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MANAGEMENT BUYOUT (MBO)

Our M&A experts offer buy-side advice to help you negotiate the purchase and arrange funding to acquire the business that you work in.

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BUSINESS MERGERS

Our M&A experts can advise on bringing together businesses with shared goals and ambitions to do more together.

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Additional benefits of using Shaw & Co

Showing you how

M&A transactions are complex and your acquisition or merger target needs confidence in your ability to close the deal. We use our experience to gain buy-in and confidence of the target organisation.

Independent evaluation

It is often easy to get caught in ‘deal fever’ and proceed when you shouldn't. Our independent point of view helps keep decisions logical rather than emotional. We are there to support you with those difficult decisions.

Added connectivity

Leverage our networks and connectivity to get access to opportunities that might otherwise not be possible. Use our deal credentials to support your approach and open doors.

FAQS

Do you accept non-UK clients?

No - We work exclusively with UK-based SMEs and small cap PLCs. However, our clients often have international activities and we regularly transact with overseas buyers and investors or arrange overseas acquisitions on behalf of our UK clients.

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What sort of businesses can you help acquire?

We assist in the acquisition of a wide variety and scale of businesses. The strategic importance of a business to a buyer is not always linked to scale.

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Who do you act for?

We act for businesses and individuals who are serious about buying a business and who are prepared to invest in our services to make that happen. We do not accept contingent search, or contingent acquisition mandates.

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Do you offer due diligence?

No, we don’t offer formal due diligence, although we do offer targeted early-stage diligence as part of our gated assessment process. We work with external providers to scope and deliver the due diligence you need to support your acquisition.

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What is outsourced Corporate Development?

For businesses that see M&A as key to their growth we offer an outsourced Corporate Development function. We work alongside your senior executive team to develop and deliver upon your M&A strategy. Our flexible approach delivers a long-term solution without fixed costs.

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How do you get paid?

When supporting mergers and acquisitions (including MBIs and MBOs) our fees are based on time at our prevailing rate cards. We do not work contingently when buying a business.

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Do you act contingently?

No, we do not act contingently when buying a business. We believe that continent fee arrangements when supporting the acquisition of a business lead to a conflict of interest between advisor and client.

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Are you sector specialists?

We have specific sector knowledge derived from many years of collective deal making experience. However, we pride ourselves on the diversity of sectors we work with which challenges us to think creatively. This creative and challenging approach brings huge value to our clients when helping them to build robust business cases.

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When Shaw & Co is involved, will I lose control over the process?

Certainly not! Our aim is to become part of your extended team keeping you up to date with all developments. All decisions are yours to make. Our aim is to make those decisions easier.

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What sort of service experience can I expect if I instruct Shaw & Co?

We take all of our clients through a carefully crafted journey. Firstly, to ensure that we are a great match for each other and once engaged, to ensure we deliver exceptional client service that exceeds expectations.

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We put you first

One of our six promises is to do the right thing and put your interests before ours. We work harder to achieve the best deal for you and your business.

"
We would like to thank Jim and all his team at Shaw & Co for all their help, how they worked alongside John Workman at BPE Solicitors, their positivity, and their great level of professionalism shown throughout the whole acquisition process."

James Strickland, Owner
Neptune Rum

HELPFUL RESOURCES

See all resources
The Shaw Report - Manufacturing & Engineering Industry Annual Review September 2022

Shaw Report

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September 1, 2022

The Shaw Report - Banking, Financial and Insurance Services Industry Interim Review August 2022

Shaw Report

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August 23, 2022

Why construction SMEs must consider mergers and acquisitions

Expert opinion

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August 16, 2022

How SMEs Can Fight Back Against the Downturn

Expert opinion

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August 16, 2022