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H1 2023 brought us to the end of a record financial year at KBS Corporate, in terms of both the number of deals completed and the value of transaction fees generated. Amid a variety of economic factors, K3 Capital, our group’s parent company, maintained its post-COVID momentum and was subsequently acquired by Sun European Partners, a subsidiary of US-based private equity firm Sun Capital, in a £270million deal. Under Sun’s leadership, we expect further expansion and development of our growth plan which has seen our wider group’s revenue increase from circa £10million in 2017 to over £85million. At the core of our success is a talented team that has triumphed over the past 12 months. Business sales across our Operations department are driven by personnel capable of exceeding expectations and realising professional goals. Tom Eatough, KBS Corporate Director, celebrated over a decade with the business by surpassing several milestones and elsewhere, Matthew Sibley was rewarded for his longevity and loyalty as he was promoted to Associate Director. Matthew continues to support the wider deal team and demonstrate considerable resilience through transactions — proving to be a real credit to KBS. And it is not just our dealmakers who have progressed over the last financial year. Our Research department has been in discussions with more active buyers than ever before, and our talented team of document writers continue to develop and enhance our marketing literature. Despite concerns about the direction inflation is taking the economy, we are still delighted with the level of M&A activity we are observing — there is capital out there and we know the acquirers looking to invest. Throughout H1 2023, we were crowned the UK's leading business sales adviser by deal volume by both Refinitv and Experian, with the former also naming us Europe's leading firm. KBS is well into its 2023 – 24 financial year and is striving for another record-breaking 12 months. We have already overseen substantial deals for businesses such as Clarke Banks, Serene Stone and Fuel Learning. We are confident that KBS will complete another large volume of deals over the next year and remain on the trajectory that has driven our continuing success.





Discover the electrifying surge in M&A demand within the electrical Electrical sector sparking significant 2023 M&A demand

Who stands to gain from private equity? The simple answer is ‘everyone directly involved with the business’. Exploring the benefits of private equity

sector. 9

KBS helps TV star land the real deal for his business

We spoke to Kirsty Poynton, Senior Corporate Document Writer, about her first four years with KBS and her role within the business. 15 Team Spotlight: Kirsty Poynton

Explore the unique story behind this celebrity business transaction and its successful outcome. 13


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ON THE COVER Delve into the mind of a business acquirer and learn how Innov8 Technology leverages strategic acquisitions for accelerated growth. An Innov8-ive insight into a buyer’s mindset

Top 10 tips to prepare for a business sale

Selling a business can be a daunting experience. If you think it could be the right move for you, here are our top 10 tips.

A Day in the Life: Deal Executives with George Barnes Get a glimpse into the world of business acquisitions with George Barnes, KBS Corporate Deal Executive. 21



19 Gain industry insights from Richard Stocks as he shares valuable perspectives on the thriving world of insurance M&A. Industry Insight: Insurance with Richard Stocks



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ave you ever put yourself in the shoes of a potential business acquirer rather than solely as a seller?

“We also introduced Innov8 Spotlight, our internal staff benefits programme that aims to not only introduce new benefits available to the Innov8 family, but to bring everyone together now we are on this rapid growth journey. “Some of our benefits include the electric car scheme, and the onsite EV facilities are free for our employees. We think showing we care about our employees is so important and we will always look to continue to add additional benefits to ensure they know how valued they are. “As Innov8 has grown, we are set to go through the 100-employee threshold in the next few months and we are looking at adopting some more socially-conscious choices – sponsoring events within the local community and we will continue to be an environmentally-conscious business as our carbon footprint is super-important to us. “In terms of future acquisitions, we know a lot of the industry partners but that famous ‘culture is key’ motto will continue to play an

Understanding a buyer’s motivations and objectives, and weighing them up alongside your own as a potential seller, can help considerably to ensure both parties are aligned in terms of achieving the mutually desired end result. Of course, at KBS Corporate we do everything we can to make certain every transaction in which we are involved is completed as smoothly and harmoniously as possible. However, there is no better way of learning just what makes an acquisitive company tick than to hear it from the buyer themselves – and Innov8 Technology is an ideal example. Innov8 is an award-winning, Stockport-based provider of business software and IT throughout the UK. With our help, the company bought Wharncliffe Business Systems Ltd, a fellow leading Sage Business Partner and

technology provider to add another important vertical solution to their portfolio. Carl Maher, Managing Director of Innov8, gave us an insight into the key acquisition factors for his company. “There are lots of motivators that drive the decision to acquire,” said Carl. “For Innov8, our driving motivation is growth to get further, faster. That need or want to get further, faster has heightened as time has gone on in order to get Innov8 to where I want it to be in its journey. “In the world of Sage, we are currently viewed by the big five or six Sage Partners as one

important factor for us – the culture has to marry well with that of Innov8.” Returning to our original question at the beginning, let’s put the boot on the other foot and ask Carl for the advice he would offer to someone planning to sell their business. The watchword? “Preparation,” he stated. “Having an advisor is completely necessary as it ensures sellers are better informed ahead of time for what can be a lengthy process. “When you think most people only sell a business

“Having an advisor is completely necessary as it ensures sellers are better informed ahead of time for what can be a lengthy process."

of the chasing pack – which is great, and it also really matters in terms of gravitas. We are constantly assessing the room, so to speak. “As we get to our next objective, which is to be at a revenue of £20m in the next two years, acquisitions will play a big part in getting us there. When we get there, we will stop and assess the room once more. Who will be in the room then? What will that partner community look like? I’m always thinking ‘what’s next?’” For both seller and buyer, the futures of staff who are being directly impacted by the change of ownership has to be another hugely important consideration. “Naturally, with the cost of living and inflation, employees are looking to their employers more and more to close the gap, and employers want to do all they can whilst making sure it’s viable without compromising the business. It’s a tricky balancing act,” explained Carl.

once or twice, it just makes sense to have an advisor there to make sure a potential transaction flows with less potential for hiccups. We loved working with KBS on the Wharncliffe deal - having an advisor is absolutely necessary for a seller. “As I mentioned earlier, our objective to be at £20m revenue in the next two years will be at the forefront of our plans and no doubt we will look to KBS to keep us in mind for the right targets that align to help us realise those plans.” If you are considering acquiring a business yourself, you can get in touch with us to ensure you will be kept informed of relevant opportunities when they become available. Phone: 01204 555 058 Email:




xcuse the puns, but we couldn’t resist…companies connected to the electrical industry have powered a sizeable portion of KBS Corporate’s recent M&A activity.

West Sussex-based Select Electrical Supplies Ltd, meanwhile, is a wholesale distributor of lighting, heating, ventilation and fire safety products. Steve Alcock, KBS Corporate Deal Executive, advised on the company’s sale to Electrical Wholesale Systems Ltd (Regent), who have a strong regional reputation in Kent and were looking to expand geographically to enhance their market presence. “The Select Electrical acquisition improves Regent’s portfolio, providing the group with another depot and a larger customer reach,” said Steve. Moving to a slightly different area of the industry, T4 Mechanical and Electrical Ltd was sold to a Swiss group seeking to expand its UK presence. Based in Surrey, T4 is among three companies under the same umbrella that were acquired by Sauter Automation, the others being Lidex Control Systems Ltd and React 4 Group Ltd. T4 offers mechanical and electrical services, also incorporating design and maintenance, to the buildings services sector across London and the south of England. Lidex develops and installs energy management systems and controls, while React 4 delivers fire security systems. Sauter Automation, a Basel-based buildings technology group with subsidiaries across Europe, was the buyer via its UK subsidiary. Joe Norris, KBS Corporate Associate Director who oversaw the transaction, explained: “The company wasn’t on the market very long before Sauter made an offer for the three companies.

Whether it’s system design, manufacturing, installation or maintenance, electrical companies continue to be in strong demand from acquirers, with high multiples being achieved. A perfect example was Blackpool-based AC Electrical Services Group Ltd (ACE), which was sold to Storskogen, a Swedish-based international group of businesses across trade, industry and services who were making their second acquisition through KBS. Among the leading electrical contractors in the UK, ACE provides a comprehensive range of services for commercial, industrial and private clients. Operating nationally, and predominantly in the retail, supermarket, local government and hospitality sectors, electric car charging installations is one of ACE’s specialist areas. They also test and inspect fire alarms, emergency lighting, CCTV and security systems. “ACE is an excellent business and has an enviable reputation within the marketplace,” said Jay Singh, KBS Corporate Finance Director who presided over the deal. “During our process, we generated a lot of interest in the group and met with several potential acquirers, but Storskogen were the best strategic fit and shared the long-term vision of the business.”

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Why is the electrical industry proving so appealing to acquirers?

“The buyer wished to expand its footprint in the UK and the valuation was in line with our client’s expectations – a large trade buyer was their preference and we managed to achieve this.” Another mechanical and electrical design business sold by KBS was AVUS Consulting, which includes sustainable and low-energy offerings among the lighting and ventilation services it provides to buildings in a variety of sectors. The business based in Corby, Northamptonshire, which undertakes projects valued up to £60million, was sold to Wintech Group who were making their first acquisition through KBS. Adam Nelson, the Deal Executive who advised on the sale, said: “We achieved a good valuation for AVUS, as well as a suitable target working capital and surplus cash figure for both parties through effective communication.” Paul Savidge, Managing Director of Wintech, commended KBS’s approach throughout the transaction and Adam’s invaluable role during the process, saying: “Adam did a fantastic job in keeping things moving and getting us over the line.

Although it may not be happening as quickly as some climate activists would prefer, the gradual transition to electric vehicles is driving demand for more charging points – which is among the key areas of the services offered by AC Electrical Ltd, for example. Similarly, sustainability is an increasingly important factor in building design with regard to the lighting, energy and ventilation systems which companies such as AVUS Consulting and T4 Mechanical are contracted to draught and install. What are the main drivers for selling an electrical business? Besides the evident demand for such companies at present, the rising cost of materials presents more challenging financial conditions for those in the supply chain. *Strong pricing pressures are likely to constrain growth in profitability - which in the example of electric lighting equipment manufacturing is forecast to increase only slightly over the next five years, as firms attempt to enhance their productivity and step up capacity utilisation. (*Source: IbisWorld) If you are thinking about selling your business, call us for a confidential discussion on 0161 258 0118 or

"Many thanks again to KBS — it’s very much appreciated.”

enquire via our secure website:



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t’s not completely unheard of, but neither is it an everyday occurrence that a KBS Corporate Deal Executive finds themselves working to sell a business for a television personality. There was a prominent TV connection when we sold Climb Online, the company founded in 2015 by ‘The Apprentice’ winner Mark Wright along with, of course, investment from the BBC show’s central figure, Lord Alan Sugar. Kaitlin Warburton recently had the responsibility of seeking a buyer for Hogarth Antiques Ltd, which comprised a brace of pawnbroker shops in Bradford city centre owned by Tim Hogarth, a mainstay of the Dickinson’s Real Deal programme on ITV ever since it first aired in 2006. Tim may not be as familiar a face to most viewers as his perma-tanned colleague David Dickinson, but there was

Not only was it an acceptable offer but one that yielded an even greater return for Tim than had originally been anticipated. “The transaction value was based on the value of Tim’s pledge book at completion and consideration for the value of any layaway stock/ customer deposits,” added Kaitlin. “Once exclusivity had been agreed and we moved towards completion, it was agreed the purchase price would reflect the value of the pledge book at completion and the layaway customer stock, in line with the gold price on the day of completion. “This resulted in the transaction value being increased on the day of completion, resulting in the client receiving a larger sum of money than expected.” Another aspect of the sale that delighted Tim was that he felt convinced the buyer KBS Corporate had identified as the best fit for Hogarth Antiques would continue to care for the interests of his customers and six employees.

a particular reason why he wanted to sell his business – and it involved his TV commitments. As well as wanting to spend more time focusing on his Red House Antiques Centre in York, Tim had series 19 of Dickinson’s Real Deal fast approaching when the sale of Hogarth Antiques Ltd was being completed in the spring of 2023 – filming was due to begin in Stoke-on Trent on April 22nd. Kaitlin’s diligent work resulted in the shops being sold to Harvey and Thompson Ltd (H&T) who operate the UK’s largest pawnbroking chain.

“It was absolutely 100% important to me to make sure the staff, some of whom I had trained up and had worked for me since leaving school, were looked after and in good hands,” said Tim. “I had great confidence the transition would prove to be nice and easy for the staff to move over and I knew that would be the priority for H&T as well.”

“I was happy, it was an easy process and KBS handled it well. I would recommend KBS Corporate to anyone who wants to explore a business sale and is seeking sound advice."

While he had no specific new plans in the pipeline when the sale was completed, Tim’s idea was to invest the extra time he would have available on developing his existing business interests. “I’m looking to spend more time at Red House Antiques,” he added. “Having the Bradford shops was quite intense and took up a lot of time, which meant I couldn’t spend as much time at Red House.” Kaitlin was delighted with how the process had transpired, saying: “Overall, it was a pleasure to work with Tim throughout this sale and he was very understanding and cooperative throughout the process, sharing information and hosting meetings. “He was more than happy to disclose information to the potential buyers and host various meetings virtually and on location in Bradford.” If you are thinking about selling your business, call us for a confidential discussion on 0161 258 0118 or enquire via our secure website

Explaining how the sale procedure had evolved, Kaitlin said: “Once the opportunity went live, our research team worked on targeting potential buyers to acquire the assets of Hogarth Antiques. Quickly, several market leading pawnbrokers/jewellers were interested in pursuing the opportunity, wanting to meet with Tim and discuss the business in more detail. “We had initial conversations with several credible interested parties who showed great promise from the get-go and were all very keen to visit the sites in Bradford and get their hands on the opportunity. “As the process continued, it became evident there were two strong parties who could potentially purchase Hogarth Antiques. We were negotiating with both parties up until an offer came through from Harvey and Thompson Ltd, which Tim and I were more than happy to accept.”




ho stands to gain from private equity? The simple answer is ‘everyone directly involved with the business’.

A private equity firm will take into consideration future growth prospects, which will often result in higher multiples being paid. Bringing a private equity firm on board can allow the owner to adjust their own level of involvement by promoting existing staff or hiring experienced management to help reduce the workload.

Private equity is one of the options available to business owners who are looking to protect the future of their company, including those not seeking a complete exit. Rather than saying a sudden goodbye to a business they may have started from scratch, the owner can join forces with an investment management firm that injects funds into a business with growth potential that is not, or will no longer be, publicly listed, in return for an equity stake. The capital raised can be used to drive growth with the ultimate aim of a positive return on the investment for shareholders over a medium-term period, perhaps five years or so. Whatever the reason for the sale, it is vital to work with an experienced adviser to achieve the highest value possible. KBS Corporate has more than two decades of experience in advising our clients on all manner of exits, so we understand each business owners’ objectives, as well as how to source the most appropriate acquirers to meet them. So what are the advantages of private equity, and for whom? Here are the ways in which those with a vested interest in the company’s performance can benefit. If there are multiple shareholders in a company, they may have differing views on how long they envisage remaining invested. Private equity can enable shareholders to de-risk a portion of their stake by selling a percentage of their shares and keeping the remainder, potentially realising greater value in the future when the anticipated growth has occurred. THE SHAREHOLDERS


Besides the potential for promotion opportunities mentioned above, there are other ways in which staff can benefit from private equity investment in the company for which they work. Greater engagement and motivation can be generated by private equity firms facilitating a Management Buy Out to enable a change of ownership. The employees’ shareholding would incentivise them to drive future growth. A sense of ownership for the workforce would mean they were aligned with the private equity firm in the quest to fulfil the mutual objective.


Obviously, the aim for the PE firm is to realise significant returns by driving rapid growth in their acquisition within a relatively short timescale.

A typical target amount would be more than double the original investment.

Private equity firms may hold several investments within a given sector in order to increase their knowledge and experience of that industry, thereby creating synergies which benefit their portfolio.

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How popular is private equity investment? According to Bureau van Dijk’s deal information database Zephyr, nearly 8,500 UK private equity transactions have been recorded over the past five years. The combined value of those transactions was around £380billion, accounting for over 20% of all UK transactions by both value and volume. While 2021 proved to be an unprecedented year for UK mid-market private equity activity, as the economy began its recovery from the inevitable slump during the Covid-19 pandemic, 2022 was also notably above historic levels and around 15% of deals completed by KBS Corporate involved an investment acquirer. These figures illustrate how buoyant the market remains, highlighting a continued interest in UK businesses from investors. Analysts have described the rise of private equity as “one of the most profound shifts in the capital markets since the 19th century” when public equity markets first became widely accessible to investors.

Following on from the previous point, the PE firm’s existing knowhow within a sector can also help its new acquisition. This could manifest in the way of additional resources, technologies and enhanced product development, as well as boardroom expertise. Implementing clear and focused strategies, embraced by all stakeholders, would be especially useful in striving to achieve the stated growth targets. In terms of resources, private equity firms often have access to specialists who can facilitate a particular requirement for an area of the business that may have previously been lacking that expertise.

How can KBS Corporate help with your private equity requirement? Over 25 years, we have compiled a rich history of securing investments for clients across a wide range of industry sectors. We maintain relationships with more than 500 private equity firms across the world - who hold over 6,000 combined investments - on our bespoke database. Through a sophisticated, streamlined buyer matching process using our own in-house cutting-edge technology, we present our clients with an array of options to best suit the needs of their business as well as their own objectives. If you are considering seeking private equity investment for your business, call us for a confidential discussion on 0161 258 0118 or enquire via our secure website




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ffective, engaging marketing documents can make all the difference in the sale of your business.

Q: What does a KBS Information Memorandum include?

A: We’re looking to present an overview of all business operations as effectively and concisely as possible, ranging from history and ownership through to financial commentary and market research. We look into the sectors we are promoting, using up-to-date reports from trusted sources to demonstrate growth trends and any socioeconomic developments Q: How are these documents formatted and presented? A: They are designed entirely in-house by corporate document writers. We use specialist software, such as Adobe InDesign, to produce attractive, modern documents for all businesses. By working with clients and their branding guidelines, we can use graphics, colours and fonts which reflect company identities. Documents are proofread and undergo an internal review process to ensure they meet style and content requirements before being sent to our clients. A: Not at all! We work closely with other departments across KBS’s operations team, as well as with clients. The information included in our marketing documents comes from businesses themselves, as well as our wider team’s knowledge of each sector, and is always approved by our clients — we do this for all sales to ensure complete accuracy. Q: Why is it important to have effective marketing materials when pursuing a company sale? A: Tailored documents ensure interested parties can make informed decisions. Presenting engaging information correctly will encourage further discussions between potential buyers and our clients. It’s a great feeling knowing that we helped find the right buyer — and that starts with successful advertising. To hear more about our proven sales approach, please reach out to us on 0161 258 0118 or arrange a consultation via . Q: Do you work independently?

As part of our collaborative, phased sales process, we produce marketing materials to promote all available opportunities, ensuring unique selling points are being communicated to the wider M&A market effectively. Operating alongside the Deal Executives and Research department, KBS’s document writers work closely with business owners and shareholders to gather the information needed to enhance our marketing capabilities. We spoke to Kirsty Poynton, Senior Corporate Document Writer, about her first four years with KBS and her role within the business. A: I was hired as a recent graduate of Journalism and English — I was handing in my dissertation one week and starting at KBS the following Monday! It wasn’t just writing that I enjoyed throughout my course, but the research and analysis aspect. A corporate document writer needs to apply all these skills, so a role at KBS seemed like the ideal opportunity for me to progress and engage with new sources of information. Q: What background and experience brought you to KBS as a document writer?

Q: What’s your primary responsibility in the wider sales process?

A: On a day-to-day basis, I produce front-end marketing materials for businesses which we are advertising for sale. This includes adverts and teasers to generate interest anonymously, as well as a comprehensive Information Memorandum to cover all key selling points of a company. It’s great to work with shareholders and owners from a variety of sectors — it certainly keeps what we’re doing fresh and interesting!





Selling a business can be a daunting experience. If you think it could be the right move for you, here are 10 tips for any company owner considering taking the plunge.



Get the right adviser to help

Assess your exit options

Understand what your business is worth Striking the right balance with your company’s valuation is important. The hard work you have invested in the business means it should not be undervalued, but nor should you price yourself out of the market. The valuation of your business will cover all aspects such as physical assets, projected profits, your brand’s reputation and the prevailing strength of the industry. If you are unsure about any element of understanding the valuation of your company, KBS Corporate can assist with that process and negotiate alongside you, or on your behalf, with potential acquirers or investors to maximise value. It is a big decision to sell a business, all the more so for those who have invested a huge amount of time and money in building up a successful company – perhaps over several decades. Going it alone with a sale is possible but, when you have a business to run, why not enlist help which is readily available? KBS Corporate offers a tailored, unique service encompassing every aspect of a sale process, removing the stress of searching for a buyer and freeing you up to concentrate on maximising your business value. 2

The scenario needn’t necessarily be as simple as selling your business to the highest bidder, handing over the keys and then driving off into the sunset. Is a clean break the right outcome for you? Or would some time to transition be preferable, perhaps staying on in a managerial or consultancy capacity until the time feels right to completely step away? As some business owners are seeking private equity investment to stimulate growth rather than offloading their company, KBS Corporate offer a TripleTrack approach which entails exploring every available avenue to finding the right solution. Further to the hint above, ensure you are clear about the exact goal you are looking to achieve, and in what timescale. Is it retirement by a certain date? Perhaps you want to release capital for a new venture or ringfence what you have invested and accumulated. Occasionally, the aim can be to satisfactorily resolve a separation between business partners. Setting a target at the outset, and sticking to it, will enable you to keep your eye on the ball and achieve the required level of focus throughout what could be a lengthy process. 4 Set your target expectations

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Understand the tax situation for your sale

Get the timing right

Often the single biggest cost of selling a business is tax, and a buyer will naturally have questions relating to this area – expert advice to minimise your risks and burden is therefore invaluable. If you sell your business for a profit, you will have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on anything above your tax free allowance. K3 Tax Advisory, a sister company of KBS Corporate, has a team of chartered accountants and chartered tax advisers with specialist knowledge in mitigating the tax implications that inevitably arise in business sales, acquisitions and restructuring, and can provide you with a full pre-transaction review. Regular contact with parties interested in acquiring your business is important to lessen the chances of them walking away during negotiations. Most buyers will aim below your target price and while some leeway should be built into your valuation, KBS Corporate can look after the entire negotiation process for you. The strategies and techniques of our highly knowledgeable team of advisers, acquired over decades of experience within the M&A industry, are available to leverage maximum value for your company. 9 Even working in tandem with an adviser, selling a business can be a time-consuming experience – and one that must not impact on the day-to-day running of your business. What can never be allowed to happen is an adverse impact on revenue because too much attention is being placed by the shareholders on the negotiation of a sale – but working with an experienced provider such as KBS Corporate negates any such worries. We help to manage the sale while you focus on your business. Another thing to avoid is mentally checking out because you know your time with the business is limited – employees and prospective buyers could pick up on this, leaving you in a compromised position. As the hints above explain, there are many factors to consider when you are selling a business. If you would like assistance with any aspect of a sale, 10 Hone your negotiation techniques Take care with time management

As mentioned in the previous tip, there might be a specific reason for choosing exactly when you want to embark upon a sale – but if it’s the correct time for you, is it equally suitable for your business? You may have already circled a date on the calendar for a big retirement party. However, the markets could be indicating it might be prudent to wait for the right opportunity to secure the best possible deal for yourself and your workforce. Indeed, the best time to sell, and to realise maximum value for your business, can often be when you do not actually need to. KBS Corporate can advise about the most opportune time to test the waters and then guide you through the entire sale process. Once the big decisions have been made, it’s time for action – and that begins with preparation, in terms of getting your business shipshape and ready for inspection. Ensure you have the right personnel in the key positions and if it is a physical business with company premises, spruce them up – just like if you were selling a house and expecting viewings. Other factors to consider include settling any ongoing disputes, clarifying the status of all contracts/leases, bringing accounts up to date and getting everything on point for due diligence. 6 Confidentiality is a critical element of the service KBS Corporate provides and it is essential your employees, customers, suppliers and competitors do not discover the business is for sale until it is necessary. If word got out, it could lead to staff anxiety, rival companies potentially trying to poach them, customers taking their trade elsewhere and suppliers expressing concern about contracts being honoured. KBS Corporate’s bespoke, highly personalised service is carried out to a level of confidentiality throughout the process that ensures discretion and protection which surpasses the industry standard. 7 Preparation, preparation, preparation Keep it confidential

visit or call +44 (0)161 258 0118 for a confidential, no-obligation discussion.




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hether you’re protecting your assets, property or business, insurance coverage is an absolute necessity.

The Value of Insurance Brokers

InEvexco stood out to me as a fantastic example of M&A insurance trends. By operating at the forefront of a niche market, they offered a larger group an opportunity to realise new cross-selling opportunities for both existing and recently acquired clients. However, clients and new products are not the only factors being considered by acquirers. Existing management teams who have utilised their market knowledge to develop their firms can be highly sought-after. The typical deal structure that I see does include a period of time in which buyers work with sellers. Over the course of two to three years, existing shareholders can operate as strategic partners and demonstrate the value of their products first-hand. This was echoed by private equity-backed Jensten Group during their acquisition of Ravenhall Risk Solutions. As we advised on the sale and held constructive talks with Jensten, it was clear the opportunity to share values and culture with the seller was as important as the financial track record. The reliability of revenue in the industry has created an environment for business owners in which they have multiple deal options. Consolidators are eager to explore the industry further and I believe it’s the right time for business owners with exit plans to start considering their options. The sales that have generated the highest multiples, such as InEvexco and Ravenhall, benefitted from deal structures with multiple-year earnouts and a phased exit. It’s never too soon to start the process when the industry is so active, even if that’s simply a preliminary conversation with KBS Corporate. If you are an insurance broker looking to sell or would like to hear more about M&A trends, please get in touch for a confidential discussion via 0161 258 0118 or visit The Time to Sell

And not just on a personal level for the everyday consumer. We’re seeing an unprecedented volume of commercial insurance products readily available on a B2B basis. Success for both general insurance brokers and niche specialists has subsequently been reflected in the M&A market and, as a member of the KBS Corporate research team, I’m seeing just how profitable this trend is for both buyers and sellers. I’ve been a Senior Research Analyst at KBS for over six years and in that time, the importance of identifying buyer trends has not been overstated. Deals don’t happen without the right buyers — and it is the research team’s job to find them. Our day-to-day operations revolve around maintaining and expanding our professional network. By being aware of market activity and, on a more personal level, what acquirers are looking for, we’re able to sit down with parties who will see the most value in opportunities. While interest can vary from sector to sector, I have complete confidence in one particular industry no matter the business for sale — and that’s insurance. The insurance M&A market is driven by competitive acquirers who are very well-funded, and we know who they are. At the core of the B2B insurance market is a high level of recurring revenue that protects long-term interests. It’s what is driving groups to consolidate and private equity firms to invest. The insurance market certainly isn’t going anywhere and, as it is still a sector with considerable fragmentation, there’s a high volume of acquisition opportunities. In the last two years alone, there were nearly 300 company sales in the UK insurance market, 10% of which had private equity funding. Channing Lucas & Partners completed its KBS led sale to DR&P Group with backing from private equity house Inflexion. In another KBS deal, A-Plan joined the Howden Group via Aston Lark, creating one of the UK's largest brokers managing over $1billion of gross written premium for one million clients. And it isn’t exclusively on a national basis we’re seeing activity. In May of this year, we completed the sale of InEvexco, a specialist event insurer, to AssuredPartners — the 11th largest insurance broker in the US with revenues of over $1billion. Research at KBS Corporate M&A in the Insurance Market





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t the heart of our success is a team of dedicated deal executives working diligently to secure the right deals.

“We know business acquisitions, and clients know their business,” said George. “Equipped with shareholders’ passion for their business, we create a corporate opportunity summary that appeals to active buyers. “Selling a business is an ongoing process and having the most recent financial information and operational updates can help us to communicate the key selling points to buyers. “Understanding the latest developments within a business allows us to negotiate from a better position, leveraging continued growth and the current financial performance.” While accepting a suitable offer is very exciting for all parties, there is a comprehensive due diligence process that must be completed in order to satisfy regulations and corporate requirements. Over the following weeks, deal executives will lead buyers through all terms and agreements associated with the commercial acquisition. George said: “Once we’ve accepted an offer, our job is to make sure that the value of the business’s assets is maintained throughout due diligence. “We will coordinate the data room with the buyers to gather all legal documentation while ensuring any financial adjustments are reflected fairly in the final value — whether that’s equity or EBITDA.” Deal executives are motivated by finding the right deals that satisfy both sides of the sale, but also applying market trends to work in the interest of our clients. “New sectors continue to progress and are quickly identified as profitable markets for M&A activity,” said George.“As a deal executive, I get to observe developing trends first-hand as new solutions are developed. Over the last two years, the demand for software-as-a-service companies has grown exponentially, allowing me to close great deals for Advizzo and Pushfar in 2023. “Interest can also be driven by industry-wide regulations. The Building Safety Act 2022 has created vast opportunities for approval contractors and big players are looking to consolidate the market. “KBS Corporate’s deal executives pride themselves on understanding what buyers are looking for, and this is reflected in our acquisition opportunities when the time to approach the market comes.” If you would like to hear more about our sales process, please contact KBS Corporate on 0161 258 0118 or visit Accepting an Offer Looking Ahead

Advising on all aspects of buying a business, deal executives operate as a personal point of contact for our clients, coordinating the entire commercial sale process. George Barnes, Associate Corporate Director, is heading into his third year with KBS Corporate and has shared his experience with the deal team. Benefitting from over 10 years of experience in the M&A industry, George has operated on both the buy and sell sides of business acquisitions to enhance his capabilities when leading transactions. “On a primary level, it is the deal executive’s responsibility to guide shareholders through the sale of their business,” said George. “There are several moving parts during the process, such as coordinating with document writers to create marketing collateral, overseeing discussions with our researchers to establish an outreach strategy, and attending meetings with prospective buyers to cement interest. “While it can often be a straightforward, phased experience for business sellers, deal executives have to operate with flexibility when multiple communications, both internally and externally, are being addressed. A business sale can be very demanding, so we act as lead advisers to refine the process and facilitate a comfortable experience.” Deal executives work closely with business sellers to ascertain their objectives and ideal outcome, refining KBS’s approach to the market to satisfy these goals. George said: “The price buyers are willing to pay is a major factor when considering options, but the best possible deal does depend on our client’s personal objectives.“A variety of deal structures can be achieved in the M&A space, with both trade buyers and investment firms presenting opportunities for sellers. “A shareholder may wish to pursue a sale that releases their capital and allows them to step away from the business. Elsewhere, a private equity investment could provide the resources required to accelerate a company’s growth over the coming years, presenting the seller with an exciting opportunity to see their business develop.”Our deal executives are qualified experts across multiple specialisms, using their vast knowledge of market trends to advise on options and ensure clients have the information available to make informed decisions. The Role of a Deal Executive Deal Executive Objectives

Developing a Relationship with Clients

While deal executives operate as the lead advisers throughout transactions, they look to develop a close working relationship with business sellers to gather the most valuable information.


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