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Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Buying Business by the Pound

02 May 2016

Sealing the deal is always a great feeling, but what to do, when a buyer comes knocking at your door and says “Nice place you have here.  I’ll take it.  The business, I mean.”

Liberace. Even thirty years on, his name is a byword for outrageous opulence.  Never knowingly overwhelmed, he’d walk into a store and the owner might rightly assume the lavish entertainer would write a cheque for his lock, stock and two smoking candelabras. A shut up shop for the day sale.

You don’t have to be very long in business before you get to know who is going to be a polite and simple sale, and who is going to be a bit more of a challenge.  You’ll get good at spotting the browsers and the buyers, the pass-the-time and the pass-the-cash types.  Then, one day, you’ll know when that exceptional customer walks through your door, and things might change in the course of a single conversation.

It might not happen face to face.  It might be by phone, or letter, or by a proxy, but you’ll know someone is about to ask about something that isn’t in the brochure.  They’re going to ask for the whole brochure.

The BBC recently reported on the global economic cycle of merger and acquisition, that’s the jargon for buying stuff, company by company.  The pendulum, so the Corporation says, has swung around.  While American and Middle Eastern buyers are still in the shops looking to buy whole shops, it is the Chinese who are finding it’s time to spend all that cash that they’ve made from making all those things the rest of the world uses every day.

The workshop of the world has amassed the biggest pile of cash in history,  and now it’s time to go on a shopping spree.   This though is shopping, Chinese scale.  This is a multi-billion pound off-the-shelf international sweep, with sovereign wealth funds and billionaire industrialists buying Britain by the pound.  They’re buying elsewhere too, but we’re their favourite brand.

Before someone flash comes along and tickles your ivories, make sure you get all the facts in front of you, and weigh up all your options, especially if selling up wasn’t already in your repertoire. You’ll probably want to talk to your business advisors. Make sure one of those advisors is Springfords.  Wherever your buyer comes from, we’ll help make sure you get the best deal from a commercial and tax perspective, no matter what currency they have in their wallet.

On one occasion, installed at the Royal Albert Hall for a series of sold-out performances, Liberace strutted on to the stage in the round of an enraptured audience.  Flicking his dazzling tailcoat aside, he launched into his recital, his gleaming teeth beaming a smile, as bright as the spotlights trained upon him. As was his custom, the consummate entertainer habitually carried on a conversation during even the most complicated pieces.  As he cracked jokes about his visit, he looked around, remarking on details of the fabulous interior of one of the world’s greatest auditoriums.  “Nice place you have here.  I’ll take it.”

Amid much laughter, he paused in mid stanza.  “London, I mean.”


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springfords blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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