Sale of Manufacturer & Supplier of Domestic & Commercial Blinds
Market dynamics constitute one of several moving parts of the business sales process. In the case of our sale of premium blinds manufacturer, VBC Blinds, market dynamics were the key factor which resulted in shaping the scope and duration of the process.
VBC Blinds had been well established in the market and had developed a solid and profitable business from modest origins in the late 1960s. As a manufacturer and supplier of bespoke window blinds, VBC Blinds retailed its product range from a dedicated showroom to a premium customer base drawn from the surrounding local areas.
The business had positioned itself as a strong market player, with a comprehensive product range complemented by bespoke service. The business traded on a stellar reputation, characterised by high quality products backed by expertise deployed by a passionate team with many years of experience.
In 2015, VBC Blinds was placed on the market in tandem with another blinds company, Sandridge Blinds, which we had taken on at the same time. Both businesses had the similar hallmarks of catering to a high-end customer base in their local areas and retailing from physical premises. This model enabled their customers to experience the quality of their ranges in situ and to receive the value add of bespoke consultation.
A challenge emerged from the outset of marketing VBC Blinds, in the form of an unavoidable market reality. For some years, the blind manufacturing sector had been heading away from the physical retail experience to the growing online space. The in-person retail route to market, while still viable was increasingly becoming dominated by a few players in a highly competitive market.
Despite initial interest from various parties, the uncertain market conditions translated to a cautious approach from potential acquirers, resulting in a series of leads failing to reach completion. The decision was made to take the business off the active market in favour of playing a longer game. We decided to approach this issue by maintaining contact with the business over the years so that when the opportunity arose to present a buyer with a proven strategic interest, we would be able to quickly re-establish the connection and re-start the process.
VBC Blinds continued to perform well in the interim of first going to market and its eventual sale. As was the case with Sandridge Blinds, the other blinds company which we had engaged with, VBC blinds had bucked the prevailing market trend of gravitating online. Furthermore, the business had thrived, demonstrating consistent sales and profits over the years despite what the prospective buyers in the market were saying. Indeed, the market domination does not seem to have materialised with many premium customers preferring a local supplier.
VBC Blinds was eventually sold in 2021, and to the same buyer as Sandridge Blinds. The eventual buyer had been registered with us on other opportunities for some time and working with our network of finance brokers. They were able to raise sufficient funding to allow a good workable deal for the seller at the target headline value and amount paid on completion.
This goes to show how changing market dynamics can affect the success of a sale process, so if your business is one of the few with Hornblower which does not sell within 12 months, it is worth keeping an open mind.
Heads of terms were signed in March 2021 and the deal completed at the end of October 2021. The deal was managed by our Nottingham based International M&A Director, Mark Sykes. Mark manages business sales for Hornblower across the Midlands and North UK as well as internationally.
SOLD – October 2021