International Retail Business

Private equity sale of a £25m international retail business


I was appointed in conjunction with the Business advisers (PWC) to assist the business through a potential but imminent sale to a private equity buyer.
The business was extremely profitable but in common with business of this type was managed in a very driven but autocratic style by the two principles.
There was concern over the availability and voracity of current information and importantly the ability of the business to cope with the inevitable demands post sale.
The principals original plan was to remain after the sales but their change in personal strategy necessitated more fundamental changes to the business once the first process fell through.


Key Challenges

Lack of integrated business models and substance behind outline business plan.
Business operating well within itself but about to outgrow its capabilities very rapidly.
Business driven and controlled by the two principals around informal KPI’s and their own knowledge/insight.
Finance staff and processes working on a “year end approach” and not collecting or supplying meaningful management information.
IT systems unreliable and outdated with a significant element of bespoke programming.
No multi-functional Senior Management forums in place.
International operations were controlled in UK.
No clear view of individual outlet profitability and with little understanding of real product costs meant key decision making lacked objectivity.


Main Actions

Initially developed and delivered an Integrated business model with market and customer profitability matrix.
Supported principals and senior management with Bank presentations and advisors with PE enquiries.
Once first sales process collapsed around principals price aspirations there was a clear need to address weaknesses that had come to light during this compressed time span hence ensuring the business would be better prepared and more attractive in any second round.
Implemented new delegated responsibilities and authority levels to reduce central control.
Advised principals on relevant strength of people structures and systems and got agreement for consequent action needed.
Mentored Senior managers and directors around the level of performance that would be required in the new business.


Main Results And Achievements

Implemented standard costing system
Weekly Senior Management team meeting with a set of hierarchical KPI’s
New Finance team and structure along with new weekly and monthly reporting packs
Implemented new devolved North American management structure.
Recruitment of new Director of IT, Finance Director and CEO (to drive ongoing sales process)
Subsequent to this process I spent a further three months with the business and the new CEO to assist in the new sale process including
Accelerated implementation of Finance package
Helping co -ordination of new business plan
Assisting advisors to set up VDD and new successful sale process