What We Do

Understand. Invest. Prosper.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to some of the questions management teams most commonly ask us. It isn’t an exhaustive list, so if you have other questions do feel free to contact us.

1What do you look for in an investment?

We invest in people and the strength of their plans. More detail on our investment criteria can be found here.

2What are the types of transactions you undertake?

We provide capital and expertise to undertake a variety of transaction types whether you are buying or selling your business or simply want capital to grow or develop your company.

3What deal sizes are you interested in?

We look at businesses which are valued between £5 million and £100 million across a number of sectors.

4How do I go about an MBO?

We can help you initiate discussions with the owners of the business as this is our day job and likely to be new to you. Owning your own business is very different yet incredibly rewarding. If you have the aspiration and belief in the opportunity we can provide the capital and expertise to make it a reality. We work in partnership which is crucial at such a decisive step in your business life.

5I've heard you need bank debt for deals too - is this right?

The tried and tested way to fund an MBO is through a mix of private equity and debt funding. However, in the current environment, we find that greater creativity can be required and we have recently launched a specific debt underwrite product. This is designed to give vendors and their advisers, as well as the management teams we are backing, real certainty of delivery by removing the risk associated with raising the debt finance for transactions.

We will talk to you about the best option for you once we know more.

6Would Gresham consider a joint venture?

Absolutely. Our joint venture product has received a superb reception amongst corporates. It works for PLCs looking to sell an equity stake in subsidiary businesses but wishing to retain an equity stake themselves. This enables them to raise cash from the equity sold, perhaps to reduce the debt burden they face at group level. By retaining an equity stake they participate in the future value creation when the business is ultimately sold. Or they might be in a position to buy back our stake when economic conditions are more buoyant.

7What do you bring other than money to help me grow my business?

We work in partnership to contribute to the success of your business. With over 50 years’ experience of successful investing we can provide the knowledge and expertise to help negotiate acquisitions, assist with domestic roll-out plans or support international expansion ambitions.

We have access to a wide range of external expertise working with high profile Chairmen, Finance Directors and Non-executive directors.

On a practical level, we bring together the purchasing power of our combined portfolio to negotiate purchasing efficiencies and encourage cross-selling amongst our portfolio companies. We also run CEO, FD and IT forums throughout the year to stimulate debate and generate opportunities.

We have sold over 100 companies over the past 15 years so, when the time comes, we know how to maximise value.

8Do you provide further money for acquisitions or to expand overseas?

We invest capital to support organic and acquisitive growth and have helped a broad range of companies with overseas expansion.

Examples of investments where we have helped to facilitate acquisitions include Giles which made 10 acquisitions in 17 months and 2e2 which made eight acquisitions in three years.

Examples of overseas expansion include Beck & Pollitzer which grew dramatically from a UK centric business to one serving five European markets and Swift, which has gone from having a handful of overseas branches when Gresham invested, to now having businesses in energy hotspots all across the globe, from China and Russia to Azerbaijan and the US.

9How much equity will I get in the company?

We believe wholeheartedly in a partnership approach. We will look to tailor a deal that is fair to everyone and it is vital that you are appropriately incentivised. We buy both majority and minority investments depending on a number of factors including the price paid for the business and how much the management team is willing to invest alongside us.

10Will Gresham be in control of all the business decisions once we engage?

No, that is not the idea at all. Our investment is based on partnership and support. We focus on helping to improve your business, building value and encouraging growth. The Gresham team has a wealth of experience that regularly proves invaluable, assisting in the good times and supporting you through any difficult patches.

11How many seats will Gresham take on the board?

Normally we take two seats on the board although this can vary depending on the nature of the business plan and where we believe we can add value to the business.

12Why sell to private equity rather than trade?

By selling to us you do not have to share with your competitors the intricacies of your business that you have fought so hard to protect. In addition, we work with incumbent management so continuity is maintained and the process tends to be quicker. We also bring 50 years’ experience of successful investing so you can feel confident that we are going to work in partnership with you to add value to your business.

13What is your average length of investment?

The length of the investment varies considerably depending on the nature of the business, the ambitions of the management team and the market conditions.

Some investments have been realised in as little as one or two years while others have been longer. Typically we plan on 3-5 years but what matters most is sharing an agreed plan with management and working to maximise the value of the business together. The debate around the exact timing of the exit normally evolves as that plan is executed.