Selling the company? Get your house in order first article banner image

Giles Dunning, an associate at Stephens Scown, looks at the things you’ll need to check off if considering a sale of your company.

With the economy showing signs of growth again, many large and mid-sized companies may be taking a more expansive view and looking to grow by acquisition.

So if you run a small company and are hoping to realise your investment through a share sale to a larger company, now may be a good time.

A recent example of this was the acquisition by Plymouth-based Succession Group of independent financial adviser (IFA) DNG Financial Solutions. There have been a series of deals in the financial services sector, partly in the wake of the Retail Distribution Review which has led many smaller IFAs to consider that they may be better off as part of a larger network.

I advised DNG in their acquisition by Succession, and indeed this was the fourth such deal I have worked on.

Whatever industry your company is in, if you are considering a share sale then there are a number of key areas to think about. The acquiring company will certainly instruct its advisers to look closely at the history and records of your company, so you will save yourself a lot of potential stress if you get your house in order first.

Common areas include:

  • Financials – it goes without saying that you will need to ensure all financial records are up to date – detailed management accounts are invariably required by a buyer
  • Company registers – make sure that your register of members and other company registers (often referred to as “statutory books”) are up to date.
  • Key contracts – make sure that any contracts with key customers/clients are up to date and complete
  • Data protection – ensure that you are compliant with all data protection requirements, both relating to staff and customers
  • Intellectual property – make sure that you are maximising any IP in the company and have registered any trade marks
  • Staff incentive scheme – if you want to reward staff when the deal goes through, then it is worth planning ahead as incentive schemes can take a long time to set up

The easier you make it for the acquirer, the more likely the deal is to go through.

At Stephens Scown, we work with businesses of many kinds, both large and small, acquiring or selling, and are happy to discuss any project you may be considering.

To have an informal conversation contact Giles Dunning on 01872 265100 or email