Selling a good business goes against every entrepreneurial bone in my body. It’s the crap ones I try and get rid of, flogging them for the highest possible price before someone works out what’s really going on, or just doing a phoenix to wash out the bad debt.
So we “ran a process” as they say – that basically means playing off one bunch of idiots against the others. We had four of them running around so confused they didn’t know what time it was. And what a motley lot they were. Muppets.
- On one side we had the kids who’d been bullied at school, who now try and cut up rough – private equity to me and you.
- Two, the teenage scribblers who’ve barely started shaving from the City fund managers; they were looking to back our float on AIM.
- Three, we also got on to these religious weirdos from America who do the same thing as us (in fact, we stole the idea). Stick a mysterious US trade buyer into an auction and it can go either way – it can frighten the home team off, or spring them into action.
- Last and by all means least, we also told management to put a bid together, but frankly they proved something I always suspected, they’re about as much use as Stephen Hawking’s skis. So, the official line is, I’m unconvinced the new ownership opportunities represented the best strategic options available. I could leave it at that.
welcome back anytime. As for the private equity lads? They still run the best ski trips. And the whole auction was run on contingent fee structure. Happy days!