Background

Steve Freeman and Tony Burrisson founded ACR IT Solutions in 2002 after long-standing careers with leading technology providers. They succeeded in positioning the company as a trusted IT advisor to small, medium and large businesses in several different markets. Their focus was assisting mid-market organisations in achieving more from their computing environment through the delivery of affordable, bespoke, virtualised infrastructure solutions. After many years of stepped growth the company’s board of directors decided that to achieve their desired exit they needed significant investment or to be acquired by an appropriate organisation. They decided to sell the business if the right buyer could be found and appointed Evolution Capital in 2019 to provide the requisite expertise.

The Challenge

The first challenge to be addressed was finding the right advisor to guide ACR through the process of getting ready for sale before the market could be approached to find a buyer. Founder and Managing Director, Tony Burrison explains, “There are no shortage of brokers available when it comes to selling your business and we were regularly canvassed by numerous organisations offering to sell the business for us. We felt we needed a specialist advisor who could first help us to prepare thoroughly before we found a buyer – someone who could help us maximise the sale value by getting us into shape. Evolution Capital did just that and demonstrated patience and great understanding of our business and where we needed to get it.”

Advice Planning and Preparation

Evolution Capital carried out an ‘in-depth’ review of the ACR’s business to support the stated share-holder objectives. The objective of the review was to quantify shareholder intentions and to evolve and enable a clear plan for the sale of the business.

Tony Burrison says, “ The first piece of work, the strategic review was exactly what was required and enabled the board to get an accurate analysis of where we were and more importantly what we needed to do to get the best outcome. It was extremely detailed and clearly articulated the processes and degree of expertise needed for us to be successful. It formed the ideal foundation for us to progress.”

Once the review had been delivered and its recommendations enacted the business was prepared for sale and all relevant presale information and documentation organised. The complete process took eighteen months of elapsed time to complete and the customer felt it was time worth spent. Burrison continues, “The amount of detail and preparation spent paid dividends by the time it came to meet potential acquirers and completely transformed the sale process. In hind-sight I wish we had engaged with Evolution Capital sooner as they left no stone unturned in preparing us for the sale process.”

A Successful Outcome

By the time potential buyers were identified for ACR’s business all of the necessary groundwork had been achieved enabling a smooth and stress free disposal plan. Evolution Capital introduced ACR to several qualified buyers. The first potential buyer, the BDR Group eventually became the succesful acquirer and terms and conditions were agreed and the transaction completed. Despite the restrictions imposed by COVID 19 the deal progressed unhindered and the buyer and seller each achieved a successful outcome.

ACR’s Tony Burrison concludes,

“My major takeaway from this process is that it is never too early to engage with the right advisors. No company should attempt a disposal process without getting an expert advisor. For our part getting the right one was the best money we have ever spent. Evolution Capital were good value and without them the venture would probably not have completed so favourably.”

Nigel Cook, MD of Evolution Capital said,

“We are always pleased when the application of our expert advice and unique methodologies provide such a favourable outcome. We believe the goals of both parties have been exceeded with the speed and value of this transaction.”