“We didn’t think that in an industry like ours the researchers would be able to identify a large number of potential purchasers. The research team certainly lived up to their reputation and the BCMS process did create a competitive environment around the business. It was clear from the outset that we had done the right thing in choosing BCMS.”
In a relatively small and niche industry Sam had assumed he would know all the companies involved. “We knew two of the three formal bidders fairly well, but the third was a company that we had never come across before,” he adds. “BCMS certainly added to the competition around the business. As part of the process we received a number of informal proposals and advanced conversations that were indicative of the level of interest in the company.”
Meetings across continents
The meetings with potential buyers went very well both in the UK, at BCMS headquarters in Kingsclere and in the USA, when Sam and his colleagues were attending a trade show. Talking of the meetings, Sam says: “The BCMS team were able to anticipate the questions they would be asked. Whilst we had nothing to hide, it was nonetheless useful to put our message across in a particular way.”
Keeping it confidential
Confidentiality was critical throughout the whole process and Sam says he was very impressed by the way the whole sale was dealt with by BCMS.
“We were aware that if any news of the sale leaked out it could affect customer relationships,” he adds. “Before any party was approached we were given a list of potential buyers to review. We were also able to advise BCMS on specific individuals within some of those businesses. Confidentiality was impeccably handled by BCMS. There was not a single instance of a leak.
“The buyer was a multi-billion dollar company, and had a legal team of 16 full-time lawyers. This generated a huge amount of questions, which I and the other directors had to field with BCMS’ help.”
The importance of cultural fit
Sam and the other Softel directors had decided that they would keep the news of the sale from employees until the end of the process.
“We took it upon ourselves to decide we would only share the news when we really needed to. Everyone within the business was already working hard. It was critically important that whichever company purchased us shared our values, respected our staff and understood our rationale for why we were investing in certain things – our basic strategy.
"In Miranda Technologies, a Belden Brand, we found a company that understood all of that. A year on, much of the staff are still there, they have invested into products and carried out launches of products that we had planned to do.”