Corporate Finance

Delivering deals with honesty and integrity

As a client of ours, you’ll witness our energy, passion and commitment first hand. And you’ll receive the benefit of our experience.

The team at Ashcroft has been delivering deals for clients for 25 years and, with over 150 successful transactions under our belts, we know what works and how to get a deal over the line. We’ve seen most things before. We negotiate hard when it matters but also know when to let things go.

But we don’t take on every transaction that comes our way. We want to add real discernible value and we want to enjoy working with each other. So, whether it’s selling a business, arranging a management buyout or raising finance, we’ll be honest with you from the start about valuation expectations and likely outcomes, about strategy and timing, and about how we can help. And if we can’t help and add real value, we’ll tell you.

We don’t sit on the fence; we have a view. As an independent firm wholly owned by the Partners, we’re under no pressure from external shareholders to deliver anything but the best advice for you and your business, even if that means we don’t conclude a transaction with you this year, as we will only go to market when the time is right for you. Our overriding objective is to help our clients achieve their goals, both business and personal. That’s what makes us tick. It’s Corporate Finance with honesty and integrity.

How we can help

You’re in good company

How we can help

Selling a business   

Raising capital   

Strategy and growth   

MBOs and MBIs   

Private equity   

ACE   

Selling a business   

Raising capital   

Strategy and growth   

MBOs and MBIs   

Private equity   

ACE   

Selling a business

Selling your business is a major, life changing and often emotional event, and one that many people will only do once (although some of our clients have come back to us for a second, or even third, business sale). You certainly need to get it right. It can’t be undone.

Our objective is to deliver full value and certainty of result for the shareholders. This means maximising the consideration you receive upfront, obtaining comfort that the transaction will go ahead on the terms agreed and identifying a new owner who shares some of the same values and culture as your own. The softer issues are important: confidentiality, what the future will hold for your staff and the business, and what role you would like to play, if any.

Our work starts well in advance of a transaction and we often work with clients for many months or even years in preparing for a sale. We advise on the current value of your business, how to increase value further, and the most likely exit routes: a sale to a corporate buyer, private equity, a management buyout or a sale to an Employee Owned Trust. A pre-sale health check can highlight potential weaknesses or issues and enable them to be remedied before a process gets underway.

Timing is crucial. We will help you decide on the best time to go to market and only go to market when the time is right for you and your business. As an independent firm, wholly owned and controlled by a small group of Partners, we are under no pressure from external shareholders or other departments. Our sole focus is on delivering the best deal for you at the right time. Honest and clear advice.

Value is increased by highlighting the key strengths of the business and presenting them in the best possible light, by identifying the right strategic buyer for the business who will pay a premium and by designing a bespoke process that generates competitive tension, whilst maintaining confidentiality and minimising the disruption to your business. We’ve been doing these things for over 25 years and have concluded deals with buyers from across the world, as well as numerous private equity firms and UK trade buyers.

Raising capital

We have extensive experience of raising finance to fund growth, acquisitions, partial sales or equity release to founders, and sales to management teams (MBO or MBI) or Employee Owned Trusts. We have strong relationships with a range of funders, including banks (High Street and Challenger), private equity firms and venture debt providers.

The funding process begins with a review of your strategy and objectives, so the optimal solution can be found. We will identify the most appropriate source of funding, based on your specific requirements, and negotiate the right terms for you and your business. Culture also plays a part: your funding partner will work with you as you put your plans into place and it’s important you get along.

If you’re making an acquisition, we can help you to assess targets and value and lead the structuring of the deal, putting together an offer that is attractive to the seller but also carefully balances the risk for you as an acquirer.

If you’re a business owner or a management team contemplating a buyout, we will work with you to assess the feasibility of a transaction, possible valuations and deal structures and how it can best be funded. We work with the management team to build a financial model, using our knowledge and experience of funders’ requirements, and will lead those financing negotiations.

Strategy and growth

We work with many clients on an ongoing basis, attending board meetings, acting as quasi-FD and advising on strategy and the optimal timing of a particular transaction. We develop a deep understanding of a business and its goals. Having advised hundreds of businesses over a 25- year period, as well as run our own, we are well placed to offer clear, honest and, if necessary, uncompromising advice.

Having understood your objectives, we work with you to plan and deliver success, often undertaking short term projects, such as preparing business plans, providing valuations, performing strategic reviews, or building financial models. We can also work with you to develop a succession plan and exit strategy.

MBOs and MBIs

We have extensive experience of arranging management buyouts (MBOs), where the existing management team acquires the business from the owners, or management buy ins (MBIs) where new incoming management take control. 

We can work with either the MBO team or the vendor, but in reality, we often act as an independent broker of the deal and our role is to raise the funding and get the deal done as painlessly as possible.  The typical stages in the process are as follows:

  1. Feasibility– assessing the likely valuation and deal structure, funding options and any tax clearances that will be required.
  2. Funding – we have funded MBOs through all possible combinations of debt, equity and vendor finance. We have a broad network of contacts within the banking and private equity communities and a track record of identifying alternative sources of finance where traditional sources have failed to deliver.
  3. Negotiation: We work with all parties, including the funders, to negotiate and structure the best possible deal that works for all stakeholders.
  4. Project management: we will project manage the transaction through to completion, working with you and your other advisers to ensure the deal completes in a timely and efficient manner, and allow management to get on with running the business.

Private equity

We have strong relationships with many UK and overseas Private Equity investors and a track record of completing deals with them.

Private equity can provide a solution for businesses and owners in multiple scenarios, typically one of the following:

  1. Raising capital to accelerate growth into new markets or products
  2. Funding an acquisition or series of acquisitions
  3. Arranging and financing a management buy-out of the company
  4. De-risking the owner’s personal stake by selling part of the company to an investor

As well as introducing you to the right investor for you and your business, our work includes:

  • Preparation of a Business Plan and integrated financial model with built in sensitivities
  • Analysis of investor’s IRR and management returns
  • Assistance with management presentations to potential investors
  • Negotiation of the deal and Heads of Terms
  • Project managing the due diligence and legal process

ACE

The Ashcroft Commercial support plan for Entrepreneurs 

Identifying and achieving your corporate and personal objectives requires experience and vision and
managing and growing your own business can be a lonely experience, even more so in the current challenging environment we all find ourselves in.

Consulting with experienced financial and operational advisors on an ongoing basis (your “sounding board”) can help you make the best decisions in moving your business forward with confidence

The Senior team at Ashcroft have extensive experience in providing sound financial, strategic, tactical and operational advice to Entrepreneurs and their businesses. They have also direct corporate experience at Senior Executive and Non Executive level.

The Ashcroft team will not only advise you on your strategic and operational plan but work with you as your trusted adviser in delivering on that plan.

Our Service offering is shaped to provide high level strategic and operational input to Entrepreneurs and for the team at Ashcroft to become your “Trusted Adviser” and “Sounding Board”.

Ashcroft will invest in establishing an ongoing working relationship by way of providing you an initial financial and commercial review of your business on a zero fee basis.

The Ashcroft review will focus on 5 key business themes and will be presented in a short concise way.

  • Corporate and Shareholder objectives
  • Market Strategy
  • Operational Strategy
  • Financial Strategy
  • Business “Polish” Action Plan

Ongoing advice and implementation of specific action plans identified from the initial review will be subject to a separate fee engagement.