UK directory of business brokers (business transfer agents)?
...and why you've got no chance of finding the most competent ones in Google or business directories.
The problem we had trying to find a list of business brokers in the UK
The UK has long suffered from the fact that there is no comprehensive national directory of business brokers / business transfer agents.
The reason may be that this is a fast changing landscape with some brokers regularly going bust and then reappearing under a new name (read our article about this).
When we first started building our database and knowledge base on UK business brokers we looked around for a seed directory to use as a starting point. We visited the directory at the well known BizBuySell site. But it's a US only affair and, though they had a UK section, it contained less than half a dozen names!
The "directory" at the International Business Brokers Association isn't any better. Not much international about it as it requires you to say which US state you're in. It was exactly the same with businessbroker.net and businessbookpress.com (a resource centre for business brokers). The former has just one broker listed in the UK at the time of writing this article!
Then we found the UK directory at the BusinessesForSale site. It's a big improvement, but it's not a comprehensive directory. It lists only those brokers who've applied to be listed and doesn't include the numerous Corporate Finance firms, legal firms and others who have very large and specialised business broking operations. This site lists only those calling themselves "business brokers" which, unfortunately, leaves out some of the top talent.
It's also the case that many of the brokers listed on that last site are no longer in business!
We did investigate a few more, but the bottom line is that, er, there's nobody keeping track of who's still in business far less the areas they cover, the type of businesses they are specialised in handling, the fees they charge or the reputation of individual brokers.
So I took on the task of putting together a directory with all of the above information, and more, and commissioned a team to work on it. The public don't have access to our knowledge base, but it is used to advise and guide clients (and you can avail of that service yourself).
How you can go about finding a broker:
- Finding a broker
- Some search terms (& Broker names)
If you are researching business brokers you'll find that many of the best brokers don't feature anywhere in the top 20-30 pages of Google results. In fact, "business brokers" and "business transfer agents" may be completely the wrong terms to be searching under as you'll simply end up with a few like KBS, Turner Butler, Intelligent Business Transfer, Nationwide and RTA. And you certainly won't be able to find all the brokers specialising in your industry / sector.
In fact, some of the best "intermediaries" don't call themselves Business Brokers! They refer to themselves as Corporate Finance Advisers. (The famous Grant Thornton, for example, can only be found under corporate finance adviser search terms.) They may call themselves M&A Boutiques, like Zaoui, one of the largest M&A firms in the world (who don't take on businesses with a value of less than £1 billion. Yes, billion). You then have commercial real estate agents particularly for cases where there is a large property component to the business.
But it doesn't end there. Firms also call themselves ECM (Equity Capital Markets) Advisers, Exit Planners, Corporate Strategy Advisers and various other names!
Let's take just the "Corporate Finance" example from above. Many of these firms are
accountants who've specialised in company disposals and related exit advice. For example:
AGI Corporate Finance
Alaris Corporate Finance
Anderson Shaw Corporate Finance
Assay Corporate Finance
Atlas Corporate Finance
Ballard Evans Corporate Finance
BHP Corporate Finance
BishopsGate Corporate Finance
Brabners Corporate Finance
BTG Corporate Finance
all the way to WK Corporate Finance LLP
And just when you think you can use "Corporate Finance" as a key term in your Google search, you'll find that many of the best firms don't use that term in their name. Examples:
Begbies Traynor Group
Garbutt & Elliott LLP
(and about 83 others)
And many accountancy firms have corporate finance arms, but don't call themselves corporate finance firms. These include Tier 1 firm like Deloitte and PwC, but also mid-tier firms such as:
Mercer & Hole
PKF Francis Clark
(and about 175 others)
To further confuse matters on the "Corporate Finance" front, some companies who use that in the title don't provide business disposal advice but are business loan merchants i.e. they are lenders, not brokers.
Other top intermediaries call themselves neither brokers nor corporate finance experts. These are firms that are at their heart legal firms now branched out into business disposals with highly specialised expertise. Example: Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.
Many of the best intermediaries don't advertise on the internet as they have no shortage of clients! In fact, the best firms are very, very fussy about which businesses they take on. But they obtain some of the best outcomes for their clients so it pays to spend the time finding them and signing up with them.
Our database includes all of the above firms, and more, and the entire database is used to filter and fine tune the intermediary best suited to individual clients. So if you're looking for the right intermediary to take your business to market, the one that presents the highest chance of successfully selling and selling at top price, read about our service.
If you are still want to research brokers yourself rather than using our expertise, the next tab provides some suggestions on what you can search for and how.
As stated on the first tab, using search engines to find business brokers is, on its own, unlikely to get you the more competent brokers. You'll simply find the ones best at Search Engine Optimisation or Google Adwords advertising.
Your best option is to use our expertise, our broker database and knowledge base and some careful filtering to find you the talent most appropriate to your requirements. And to find you that talent at a fair price and with fair terms.
You will also learn what questions to ask brokers, what terms to be wary about, how to negotiate their fees, how to get them to prioritise your business over every other business they are selling ... and much more.
The most attractive part for our clients is that they save far more on broker fees than they pay for our services. Even if you've decided on the broker you're going to use, it'll cost you less to go through us than if you approached them directly!
But if you are returning to Google, here are some suggestions:
Try a range of search terms, including terms like your industry + business broker. Try replacing broker in your searches with
corporate finance advisor/ adviser
Of course that will still get you only the brokers in Google's index.
It's worth running the searches through other search engines: Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go and Yandex.
You could also search M&A Award sites, LinkedIn and independent sites like this Europe wide resource for M&A advisors (my own listing at that site is here).
Below are the brokers you're likely to find in a Google search. Less than 150 brokers feature in Google searches when using all the main search terms. Bear in mind that we have many hundreds of brokers and other intermediaries (who provide the same broker service).
A2Z Business Brokers Ltd
Abbott & Crowe
Acquire Business Sales Ltd
Active Business Sales
Adams and Co
Adepto Acquisitions Ltd
Advent Business Sales Ltd
Albert Goodman LLP
Alexander Mackie Associates Ltd
Altius Group Ltd
Anderson Moore Business Consultants
Anderson Shaw Corporate Finance Ltd
Andon Freres Corporate Brokers Ltd
Andrew Greenwood Business Transfer Agent
Apex Business Sales
Arrow Business Sales
Ashley Tate Ltd
Aspire Business Brokers Ltd
AWG Business Transfer
Axis Partnership UK Limited
Barry Crux & Company Limited
Beer Mergers Limited
Begbies Traynor Group
Benchmark International Brokers Limited
Bernard Baxter Business Brokers
Blacks Business Brokers
Bridgers Central UK Ltd
Brown & Co
Bruce Commercial Estate Agents
BTG Corporate Finance
Business Transfer Agent Ltd
Businesses To Go
Businesslink Brokers Ltd
Capital Logic Investments Ltd
Caremark UK Ltd
Careport Advisory Services Ltd
Chemex International Ltd
Chris Hart Business Sales Ltd
City Business Brokers Ltd
Clyde Commercial Ltd
Corporate Mergers Ltd
Dean Gambles & Co
Derbyshires Business to Business
Direct Commercial Property Solutions
Douglas Barrie & Co Ltd
Dowle, Smith & Rutherford
Easy Business Sales Ltd
Edge Allen Practice Mergers
Ellis and Ellis Business Transfer Agents
Ensors Chartered Accountants
Ernest Wilsons & Co Ltd
Everett Masson & Furby
Evolution Complete Business Sales Ltd
Fish and Chip Sale Ltd
GA Select Ltd
Goldsmiths Corporate Finance Limited
Goodchilds Estate Agents & Lettings Limited
Gordon Craig O”Brien & Co
Harvey Silver Hodgkinson
Henley Business Brokers Ltd
Hornblower Business Brokers Ltd
Hunter Gee Holroyd Limited
Hurdley and Co
Ian Benson Mergers
Intelligent Business Transfer
Isis Business Brokers Ltd
JDP Corporate Finance Ltd
Jeremy Kitchin Practice M & A Ltd
Kings Business Transfer
Kingswood Business Sales Ltd
Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward
Knightsbridge Business Sales
Lakey & Co
Larking Gowen Holdings Limited
LaSalle Investment Management
Lawrence & co
Leith Mergers & Acquisitions Limited
Lime Licensing Group
Lucas & Weston Limited
Merger Services Limited T/A Select Business Sales
Meridian Business Sales Ltd,
Miller Commercial LLP
Morgan Cox Ltd
National School Transfer NST (UK) Ltd
Nationwide Businesses Ltd
North East & Yorkshire Commercial
Oxenham Associates Ltd
Paviour Property Services
Pegasus Business Sales
Proctor Partnerships Ltd
Property Solutions GB North Limited
Redwoods Dowling Kerr
Richmond Capital Partners Ltd
RS Business Transfer Agents
RTA Business Consultants Ltd
Savills (UK) t/a Charles F Jones & Sons
School Transfer Consultants
Scott Burridge Commercial LLP
Select Business Transfer
Sett & Lucas
Seymour & Clink Limited
Shaw Gibbs Ltd
Smith and Clough Business Associates
South East Business Brokers
Stirling Business Solutions Ltd
Succession Strategies Limited
The Business Partnership
Vexus Business Brokers Limited
Vivian Sram Ltd
Wilkins Kennedy LLP