Controlling the Controllable


Nov 2016 | Simon Ward

It is now more than four months since the seismic shock of the Brexit vote.  The honeymoon period of the summer months has passed.  The debate has turned to what flavour of Brexit we might be left with and the timing of Article 50 and the level of oversight MPs should have.  There remain far more imponderables than facts and this seems set to be case for some time.  For those of us who negotiate for a living, this is a reality that is inevitable.  For the UK to get the best deal we have to trust in our ministers and civil servants – a transparent negotiation is one with at least an arm tied behind ones back!

So for business entrepreneurs, management teams and founders how should they react to two and a half years of pre Brexit uncertainty?  Our current experience is a strong desire to control the controllable, focus on the same principles of business development and value growth.  No business can move into a holding pattern for such a long period.  Businesses go forward or back – standing still is not an option.

In the last four months we have seen an exceptionally buoyant corporate finance market.  For the business owner looking to realise value let’s remember that current capital tax regime remains as favourable as it has done for years.  UK trade acquirers remain well funded and the depreciation of sterling has increased the attractiveness of the UK particularly for the US acquirers who remain by far the most active buyers of UK assets.  The wall of private equity raised in recent years still needs to be deployed and the pursuit of buy and build strategies by PE businesses grows ever more voracious.

So for an owner thinking of selling, now is a good time to consider acting.  Waiting for two and half years is simply too long and ignores those fundamentals.  Where an ultimate Brexit falls on the hard/soft spectrum will take time and careful (and confidential) negotiation.  The UK economy will remain the fifth largest in the world.  In our experience controlling the controllable is the best way forward.


"We spoke to a number of advisors before deciding to engage with Springboard. We felt that they had the required experience to look after us properly and were able to give us the personal attention we needed. We are delighted that the results vindicated our choice and would not hesitate to recommend their services."
David ShepheardIndecs Computer Services
"Springboard promised a partner led service and a professional sales process. They delivered on both counts, provided sound advice throughout the transaction and demonstrated considerable commitment to achieving a successful outcome."
Mike GallacherFirst Milk
"The sale of Portman was a complex transaction, Springboard provided excellent support to the institutional and management shareholders throughout the process. Their practical, partner led advice was invaluable in delivering a successful outcome."
Daryl CohenVision Capital
"Springboard provided us with outstanding support throughout the process of raising new investment. They showed great empathy with management and shareholders, yet were also tough enough on us all to drive us through the process. Their communication and negotiation style was outstanding."
Andy ReevesMuddy Boots Software
"We are indebted to Springboard for their professional and dedicated work in successfully bringing the two companies together. Their experience proved invaluable in addressing the complex negotiations whilst allowing the management team to focus on continuing to grow the business. I am in no doubt that Springboard saved us time and energy, reduced our stress, and worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome."
Brian McCluskieTollblend
"Springboard provided excellent technical support, leading us through the complexities of the deal and providing hands on pragmatic advice throughout. Their knowledge of the institutional buyer was invaluable in smoothing the way to a successful outcome. I would have no hesitation in recommending Springboard."
Simon DickinsonWorking on Wellbeing
“Springboard delivered exactly what they promised – a refinancing deal on our terms and in a timely manner. We are delighted with the outcome and would highly recommend Springboard."
Chris DavisDunlop Systems and Components
“The transaction would simply not have been possible without Springboard’s expertise and support over many months. They offered insightful advice every step of the way, from structuring a sensible offer, testing the deal logic, navigating the tricky parts of the negotiation and providing active guidance on fund-raising.  I am happy to give them a five-star recommendation.”
Rod Roberts-DearDearnleys and Pentel
“Springboard delivered a professional, partner led service.  They showed a detailed understanding of all aspects of the transaction and worked hard to ensure the expectations of Livingbridge and our fellow shareholders were exceeded.”
Louise KingstonLivingbridge
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Chris KisbyEasy Autocentres