People are approaching United Capital to see if we’re interested in acquiring their business for a number of reasons. A lot of them are very sensible and valid reasons for doing so.
Some want to be a part of something bigger, a lot of people are quite excited about what we’re doing. They see where we’re heading and the team that we’ve got in place. We’ve got a real credible team of directors, we’ve also got a credible supply of outside professional advisors, legal and accounting, HR professionals. What we have and offer to these businesses owners is access to real quality information, assistance and support to allow them to grow their businesses.
They can sell their business to us and we’re not going to go in and make it all ‘United Capital’ or anything like that. We’re going to let them be, we’re looking at good-quality regional operators that have built their businesses and brand name within their locale over a number of years, and they’ll become part of the United Capital family. They’ll continue trading under the name of the company, and for all intent and purposes they’ll continue to manage the business pretty much un-hindered on a daily basis. Clearly where there are synergies, we’ll expect to realise them where we can.
On day one, these companies are able to use our centralised services, the likes of HR. Some of these companies have never done anything from a marketing point of view, some are spending half their life tied up in HR issues. They’ve maybe got problems with the accounting not being quite right, or possibly some legal issues. We’ve got experts in all of these fields and can take that headache away.
We’re not one of these private equity companies that are going to go in and just transfer the world or going to be in and out of the business all the time – that’s not what we do. We’re buying well run businesses now where they can quickly add value to the group, and we can immediately give them the platform that will allow them to grow their revenue, without the substantial risk of central overheads.
A number of these companies can do so much more, if they had more working capital, more resource. They’ve got the business there, they know what they’re doing, but they’re just stuck. We take the brakes off there, and give them the platform to go and see how good they really are.
For a business owner currently, they get to take some money off the table, keep a wee bit of skin in the game possibly, and they get the chance to run their business as if they had nothing holding them back to a certain extent. They also tap in to a bigger network of operators throughout the country.
The options, who we’re up against, these private equity guys. Well, everybody knows the stories about the private equity guys, what their plans and intentions are. That’s not what we do. Also management buyouts, a lot of these companies are not making any sense. Management buyout might get the owner an exit, but where is the company going to end up? If the company has problems, where is the longevity in management buyout?
We’re a real attractive acquirer of businesses. Of the businesses we’ve purchased already, we leave them alone. Already we’ve assisted some of these businesses in making their own acquisitions which they’ve never done before. But that’s because we bring that expertise. The team we have, our directors, we’ve pretty much been through most situations, both good and bad, and I think with the class of external advisors that we’ve got, it allows business owners to access these at a fraction of the cost.