It is almost impossible to find the right business broker for your business*
Heck, as in our list below, there are over 100 brokers just under the letter "C"!
*Unless you talk to us
Which of the 1000+ brokers can find you the right buyer, in the right time frame & get the best price?
The choice of business brokers is simply mind boggling. There are over 20 business brokers in the UK who handle the sale of just accountancy practices, they sell no other type of business. There are over 30 brokers who specialise in the sale of service businesses and 12 who specialise in the sale of just "facilities management" businesses.
See our list below of some of the 100+ UK brokers just under the letter "C".
Using a specialist in your sector could mean a lot more money when you sell, as a sector specialist is often in a better position to source you strategic buyers, but there is no list anywhere (!) of the brokers who specialise in your sector. We're the only ones who have that data.
And there are hundreds of generalist or "sector agnostic" brokers who are better suited to some businesses (beauty salons, cafes etc) because of their local knowledge. And other brokers who have cross border expertise and can find you that Silicon Valley investor if, for example, you're a tech business. Some brokers are NOMADs (Nominated Advisers) whose assistance you'll need to take your business public. Others are expert at putting together MBOs (management buy outs).
Whatever your business, you will benefit from having a broker with the right skills, the right attributes, the right competencies to advise and assist in your particular case and to help you achieve your particular exit goals (whether partial sale, full sale, sale of assets, sale of shares, cash sale, sale on deferred payment terms, MBO, MBI, a "bolt-on" sale to a strategic buyer, getting private equity involvement, selling a distressed business ...the list is endless).
Many considerations go into finding the right broker for your business, based on your circumstances, yet you have no access to any of the data you need to reach an informed decision (which is why we provide the matching service that we do).
Most of the best firms that handle the sale of businesses - the M&A advisory firms, the boutique investment banks, the corporate finance firms etc - don't advertise, so they are difficult to find.
It's not surprising therefore that many business owners end up with the likes of Knightsbridge Business Sales (KBS), Intelligent Business Transfer, Turner Butler, RTA, BCMS, National Business Sales ...or pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap generalists.
These are the brokers who are easy to find (or they find you through cold calls etc)
The best 200 firms don't appear anywhere in Google search for terms like business broker. Not even on page 200! That's because they call themselves by all kinds of other names and will never refer to themselves as brokers (and may even get offended if you call them that!)
You won't find them in Google ...and they certainly won't cold call you.
If you do find some of the top firms, many won't take you on because you're in the wrong geographical location, aren't big enough for them, are in the 'wrong' sector etc etc. Many (not all) won't even speak directly with you! You need to be referred by, say, your accountants, or by us.
But get signed up with one of these top firms and you have a far higher chance of selling your business.
The success rate for run of the mill brokers is less than 20%. The large majority of the clients they take on do not succeed in selling. It's a scary but true statistic. For some brokers the success rate is less than 5%!
With the top intermediaries, the ratio is reversed. They tend to sell over 80% of the businesses they take on. Some sell 100%.
We share some data below
We have masses of intelligence on who does what in this industry - their fees and fee structures, their sector specialisation, their geographical coverage, their reviews and feedback, the size your business needs to be for them to take you on, their cross border expertise, the languages they speak, the industry awards they've won, whether they are FCA regulated, whether they have in-house valuation / tax / legal expertise ...and much, much more.
We share below some extracts from our database to give you an idea of just how vast the market is, just how many brokers there are out there, and the range of services and expertise they have on offer.
We share the brokers we've got listed in our database under the letter "C". There are over 100 under this one letter.
Some of the firms listed here are sector specialists, like Careport (who sell just care homes), CGA (day nurseries), Chartswood (recruitment businesses), Cooper & Tanner (agricultural), CDG (leisure) and Corporate Mergers Ltd (food).
And there are several corporate finance (CF) firms who are sector agnostic. CF firms tend to put in a lot more effort into the process of selling your business - hundreds of hours - but then they charge a lot more, too. Note that CF firms tend to not take on smaller businesses. They operate in what's called the lower mid-market space ie. businesses which have an EV (Enterprise Value) of between £5m and £50m. Many won't handle your sale unless they feel you're worth at least £5m (though a few might go down to an EV of £2m).
But they'll typically get you a far, far better multiple than any BTA (Business Transfer Agent) could get you.
That brings us to the BTAs - they typically handle the sale of smaller businesses such as high street shops, hair dressing salons, cafes and the like. They tend to have the local knowledge required to sell such businesses. The BTAs in the extract below include Capital (covering London), Charlton Blake (NE of England), Chris Hart and Cornerstone (both covering Scotland), Cherry & Cherry (SW), County (SE) etc.
All these just under "C".
Without further ado, here's the list but bear in mind that a firm appearing in this list is not to be read as our "recommendation" of that firm. In fact, there are some here we've often advised our clients to avoid.
Some extracts from our database
Terms in italics, and sector abbreviation codes, are explained in the Glossary below
And those are just the ones under "Ca"!
Here are a few more under "C":
BTA - Business Transfer Agent (these usually deal in High St shops, hair salons, cafes, etc)
CFF: Corporate Finance Firm (brokers run by qualified accountants / CF experts)
EBITDA - Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation
EMEA - Europe, Middle East, Africa
EV - Enterprise Value (the figure the broker thinks you're worth)
IB - Investment Bank
IPO - Initial Public Offering
M&A - Mergers & Acquisitions (or sale of your business to a "trade buyer")
MBI - Management Buy In
MBO - Management Buy Out
Mid Market - Businesses with turnover of circa £5m to £200m
Nomad: Nominated Advisors (authorised to advise on IPOs)
RE - Real Estate
Sector Agnostic - A broker who handles business in any sector / industry
SME - Small & Medium Enterprises (businesses with £5m - £50m in turnover)
sSME - Small SMEs, more accurately called micro businesses (under £5m in turnover)
Ac - Art, culture
Ag - Agriculture
Bt - BioTech
Ca - Care (day care, care homes)
Cn - Construction
Cs - Consumer
Ed - Education, training
Fa - Fashion
Fd - Food & beverages
Fi - Financial
Fl - Film and TV
Fm - Facilities management
Hc - Health care, hospitals
Ho - Hospitality
In - Industrial
Le - Legal
Lg - Logistics
Ma - Maritime, shipping
Mo - Motor, vehicle
Og - Oil and natural gas
Ra - Rail
Rc - Recruitment
Re - Real Estate
Rn - Renewables
Rt - Retail
Sv - Business Services
Tc - Technology, Media, Telecoms (TMT)
We can help!
Does your business have a turnover of at least £2m or EBITDA of £500K? We can advise and help to find you the right broker. We can also save you tens of thousands of pounds in broker fees. Get in touch to enquire about our broker matching service. (While our broker matching service is for larger businesses, we do have various other options for smaller businesses. Contact)
This article was written on 14/09/19 and is not kept updated. All the above data was valid on 14/09/19.