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Keeping everything confidential meant none of the team was stressed, upset or worried. It meant we carried on trading perfectly well. That in itself is some kind of art.

 

Tony Hogg, Willbond
Willbond
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Here's what Tony had to say:

I came across Cooper Parry some years ago when I was part of a management buyout of the business in 1987. We did this with the assistance of Prior & Palmer, who then merged with Cooper-Parry to form Cooper Parry Prior & Palmer. So, if you think Cooper Parry Corporate Finance is a mouthful, imagine trying to say that!

We continued to ask for business and tax advice from the firm and got to know the corporate M&A people. For a while they would ask “What are your plans for the future?” at all our meetings. Eventually I thought…

"I ought to be making a sale. Let's have a chat.”

We got together, talked about the possibilities and Andy said he knew someone who was interested. We got in touch with the buyer, did a marketing exercise, created an invitation to tender and an IM and then we kicked off the process.

We considered others

We considered others. But we always had a strong leaning towards Cooper Parry Corporate Finance. You knew a lot about us. The wider firm handled our tax. You had a comprehensive understanding of our business and had shown you were interested in us as people.

The firm’s facilities were very useful too. We were able to meet at the firm’s airport offices to meet prospective buyers. Andy, the team and I would also have strategy meetings together where we’d work out what was best for us and the business.

We really appreciated keeping it confidential until after the work was done

Keeping everything confidential meant none of the existing team was stressed, upset or worried. It meant we carried on trading perfectly well. That in itself is some kind of art. 

Sally and Niall looked after things on a daily basis. They were very attentive, helpful and responsive. The buyer due diligence was handled very swiftly, and we moved on to a rapid conclusion on the deal.

You introduced us to people we could trust

One of the most important things was that I believe you introduced us to people we could trust. This was very important to us as we wanted to find an appropriate business - some of our staff had been with us for 30 or 40 years. I needed to be able to look them in the eye and say, ‘It's in great hands’.

I intended to step down but then people started getting in touch

After the sale had gone through, lots of other heating and plumbing businesses started getting in touch with me to see what we’d done and how we’d done it. So, Plumbing and Heating Investments asked if I would carry on. And I agreed to in a fashion.

We were the first company they'd bought in the plumbing and heating distribution space. I was made Chief Executive of the company and I've since worked on four other acquisitions. We're now the largest independent plumbing and heating merchants outside of the four national operators.

Continuing relationship

I’ve also continued my relationship with Cooper Parry as my wife and I are Cooper Parry Wealth clients.

Because I've been such a long-standing client of Cooper Parry’s, I knew some of the Cooper Parry Wealth financial planners. My wife and I went over to meet them. We were impressed by their presentations, plans and how much they got to know us. We’re very happy with the outcome and continuing relationship

They were there for us 24 hours a day, always there to pick up the phone and spent a lot of time in our office. It was the backup we appreciated. After all, we had a business to run too.

 

Brendan Murphy, Camfaud

 

Camfaud
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Here's what Brendan had to say:

Cooper Parry Corporate Finance were recommended to us by the law firm, Geldards. You see, we started by talking to the lawyers before anyone else. We asked them for three or four corporate finance companies, and Cooper Parry Corporate Finance were one of those.

“You understood us a little bit better”

Compared to the other firms we approached, you understood us a little bit better. The others seemed a bit more corporate and city orientated. We just got the impression they wouldn't get to know us or the business quite as well.

We first got to know Andy and James from Cooper Parry. They wanted to know to get to know us. We could sense that they were excited.

We were looking for someone to hold our hand. We're all working guys if you know what I mean

It was a new area for us and my partners. We were feeling our way into it. That's why it was important to us that they Andy and James wanted to get to know us. 

These weren’t the circles we were used to moving in. We needed a hand. Cooper Parry understood us and made it easy. I led the process and had backup from my partners, Tony and Peter, especially in the bigger management and strategy meetings.

Finding a buyer turned out how I expected

We quickly whittled potential buyers down to four or five that we got a good feeling for. Andy was particularly helpful at guiding us through those meetings with the interested parties.

We went through this process until we'd all decided who to go with. You gave us some important advice along the way. The vendor due diligence was very useful, especially discussing the pros and cons of the future owner of our business. We eventually found a US buyer and a UK Private Equity House, and we could only choose one.

They were there for us 24 hours a day

We really valued the commitment from James and Andy. They were there for us 24 hours a day, always there to pick up the phone and spent a lot of time in our office. It was the backup from those two guys we appreciated. After all, we had a business to run too.

It certainly helped that we were going through a record year too. Each month, James would ask us, "How's the balance sheets?". We were lucky enough to be able to keep on saying, “Yes, another record month!”

And then there was Brexit…

I eventually took a step back from the business side of things to help with the sale. It started to get quite complicated as three UK companies were merging with one from the US. This took time. And then there was Brexit…

Brexit and the news surrounding it was a big challenge. We had to convince the buyers that we were still a worthwhile business to get involved with. We had a lot of help from James and Andy with this. They were resilient, and their experience pulled us through.

James and Andy’s helped us with staying positive. Because of how they acted and behaved, we always thought the deal was going to happen. We never thought it was pie in the sky.

James and Andy held our hands through the process

We’re all still part of the business. The same team. We chose to sell to US trade in the end and the Americans haven't interfered too much. They've been pretty good.

Tony, Peter and I were very pleased at the service we received from Cooper Parry Corporate Finance. We worked very closely with Geldards too. But it was James and Andy held our hands and guided us through it.