acquiring a BUSINESS

Acquiring a business can accelerate growth and provide access to new customers, resources, skills and knowledge. Our business acquisition advisory service and M&A experts will help you make the acquisition happen with the right strategy, at the right price, on the right terms, and with the right funding in place.

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TRUSTED BY businesses across the UK

WHAT IS A BUSINESS ACQUISITION?

A business acquisition is where one company purchases control of another company to become the majority shareholder or owner. There are many reasons to make an acquisition including, but not limited to, gaining scale or critical mass, or acquiring new technologies or capabilities to enhance your value proposition.

But company acquisitions carry risk if you don’t have the right strategic rationale in the first place. You must be clear on what your business lacks and whether the investment will deliver the anticipated return.

WHO DO WE WORK WITH?

We work with UK SMEs and small-cap PLCs that have the ambition to grow their business by acquisition. We often act as an outsourced Corporate Development team helping clients meet their strategic goals through mergers and acquisitions.

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ACQUIRING A BUSINESS - HOW TO GET IT WRONG

We can confidently say that acquiring a business can be time consuming and fraught with risk. Being unprepared in your approach could mean that you end up failing to bring together a deal or paying above the market rate for a less favourable company. Typical mistakes that individuals frequently make when acquiring a company 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 in the acquisition of unexpected risks;
  • Unstructured approach to communications with internal and external stakeholders;
  • Lack of a post-transaction integration plan to best protect acquired value.

ACQUIRING A BUSINESS - HOW TO DO IT RIGHT

To successfully acquire 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.

BUSINESS ACQUISITION ADVISORY SERVICE

By using our business acquisition service, our M&A experts add value by ensuring rigour in your acquisition search and execution. Working with us will ensure that you identify the right targets to make your acquisition happen. We'll secure the deal, ensure you pay the right price and manage associated risks. Our funding specialists can also help you secure business acquisition financing if you don't have the funds up-front. This is what our advisory service provides:

Undertaking the search

Using desktop research, our networks (and yours), we thoroughly analyse the market to find the best options, including those that could become available in the near future.

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Initial Diligence

We help you quickly and efficiently validate initial assumptions about the target business, giving you the confidence to proceed while ensuring that your criteria have been met.

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Final Diligence and Closing the Deal

We help you co-ordinate and deliver the diligence you need to be confident to proceed with your business acquisition. We also work closely with other stakeholders – such as your legal team - to bring together what is a highly complex transaction.

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ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF using SHAW & CO

Showing you how

Acquiring a business is complex and your vendor needs confidence in your ability to close a deal. We use our experience to gain buy-in from your potential seller.

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.

RELATED AREAS OF EXPERTISE

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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If I need to raise additional capital, can Shaw & Co help with this?

Absolutely, we are able to raise debt or equity based on the strength of your business, the target or the combined value of both. We can advise you on the amount of funding likely to be available to you early in the process so you can define your target pricing limits.

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How long does it typically take to secure another business?

The most uncertain period is identifying a target and negotiating initial terms, quite often your target is not ready to sell and it can take months or years until they are. But once negotiations start a period of 6 to 9 months is common depending on how well prepared the target is for the M&A process.

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What happens if I disagree with your valuation of the acquisition target?

Ultimately any offer that you make for a business is your decision and yours alone. We have extensive experience in valuing businesses and our approach is to offer a fair value as failure to do so either results in being outbid, the offer not motivating the seller or the process failing as the seller becomes more aware of the market value of the business as the deal progresses.

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If the deal collapses at the last minute, do I still have to pay Shaw & Co’s fees?

All fees for acquisition work are charged on a per hour basis and are not contingent on the deal happening. That means that yes, you will be required to pay our acquisition advisory fees if the deal does not happen. This structure ensures we remain aligned with your interests. The best advice that we might be able to give you is not to proceed if new information is discovered at the very last minute. Success Fees relating to raising finance for an acquisition are contingent on completion.

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Why should I use Shaw & Co to help me acquire another business?

We have extensive experience in the SME transaction marketplace. We understand the key drivers to making an acquisition successful as well as the funding options to support your deal. We can bring together our expertise to make your acquisition happen.

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LEARN MORE ABOUT SHAW & CO

Why Shaw & Co

WE MAKE DEALS HAPPEN

Our highly talented people are creative, innovative and thrive when faced with a deal-making challenge. It's no surprise that we make deals happen and turn your ambition into a greater outcome.

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Fees & charges

COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT & ALIGNed With your GOALs

Our objective is to ensure that our fee more than pays for itself from the value we create for you and your business.

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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.

"At every step of the journey, through the build up to our sale, and in the subsequent acquisition by Unilever, Shaw & Co worked with us to protect and champion Pukka’s values and mission. They have helped us find the right home in Unilever, and to create an exciting future for Pukka Herbs."

Tim Westwell, Co-Founder & CEO at Pukka Herbs

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