It was perhaps the biggest game-changing decision of last year, rivalled perhaps only by the election of Donald J Trump as US president. The decision to Brexit has now been taken and we are only a short time from the implementation of Article 50 that will begin the exit negotiations.
While you might be feeling a little pessimistic, research following the Brexit vote showed that M&A investors were still fairly buoyant. It seems that a good business is still a good business, even if the political landscape may be about to change dramatically. The devaluation of the pound in recent times has also led many overseas companies and investors to look more closely at UK businesses.
The rules haven’t changed either. You still need to demonstrate the basic things that make for a good acquisition. You need to have strong profit margins, be able to show the potential for growth and have that consistent revenue coming in from a broad base of customers.
It’s even better if you have a niche business that will be resistant to potential trade barriers that Brexit might eventually throw up.
A lot is going to depend on how the negotiations on our exit pan out in the next couple of years and the impact this will have on the UK. While most see the need for parties on both sides of the Channel to cooperate, that may not be the case. We could see a stalling or faltering of the economy if things get messy. That in turn could impact on the bottom line of many companies, reducing their appeal and lowering potential valuations.
Of course, there wasn’t the immediate cataclysmic effect when the vote was cast last year, despite the initial tumble of the pound. We are becoming cautiously optimistic as we approach the triggering of Article 50 and there has indeed been some softening of viewpoints in EU over recent months. All this is encouraging.
But there may be other factors that could get in the way of a good or bad Brexit negotiation. The election in France could see a major change in government and direction. Germany has its own elections later in September. The election of Trump in America and the potential for more protectionist policies could also well have an impact on the value and success of UK businesses.
In the short term, most experts feel that it’s still a good time to sell your business if you are considering it and in reasonably good shape. Some potential buyers may be holding back, of course, waiting to see what the next 6 to 8 months deliver but others are still looking to acquire strong performing businesses in the UK.
If you are not yet ready to sell your business but will be thinking about it in the near future, it’s even more of a good idea to make sure you get the preparation in place that will ensure you are an attractive asset to buyers. The bottom line is that if you run a good business you should expect to still get a good price for it.
Timing is important, but then it always has been. Our advice is to make sure that you get the best advice before you consider selling and find a team that is able to guide and work with you to ensure you get a good price for your business. Now might just be a good time to consider taking some chips off the table.