It’s fair to say that Our Successes are as unique as they are varied, because we don’t look to apply the same templated system to each corporate, business or person that approaches us. That would be disrespectful. Your business in reality is an evolution of drive from the founder, owner or Managing Director, combined with the team that have been assembled over time, along with the market forces endured during the trading history…that means no situation is the same!
Our Successes reflect our individual approach to the businesses we’re presented with. We’ll be honest if we can add value, we’ll be honest if we can’t. If we can add value, we’ll do our damnedest to ensure we satisfy the objectives of all parties, as it’s the long term relationship that we’re interested in.
Becktech was introduced in the summer of 2010 by the Managing Director, who wished to organise an MBO. Interestingly, of the then two owners, one wished to retire, whilst the other wished to carry on working within the business. At the time, neither the lawyers nor the accountants could organise a structured deal that facilitated all parties. However, ARKLE assessed, defined then backed the management team to acquire the company in a structured deal, the final element of which, completed in April of 2013.
They brought a wealth of experience and a steady hand to the transaction, identifying and overcoming hurdles that would have tripped me up. The innovatively structured deal meant that I didn’t have to re-mortgage my house or sell the kids, and in the end it was all considerably smoother than I expected it to be.
Director, Becktech Limited
The non-retired vendor is still working within the business and the MD is now a major shareholder in the company, without having put his house on the line. The original vendors also remain the businesses landlords, so in reality it was a win-win solution for all parties, with staff maintaining security of employment, and a seamless transition of ownership as far as suppliers and customers were concerned.
Permaquip was acquired from the US based Harsco Corp, through the sub-division Harsco Rail back in 2010. It had become a non-core component of the multinational's very successful group and as such they wished to dispose of it following the change in international strategy. The deal was complex in nature, with the transfer and subsequent sale of a substantial amount of historic stock and equipment. A number of companies had approached Harsco to ‘do-a-deal’ but none had structured a deal that worked for the US corporation by crafting a flexible, intelligent solution that worked.
I ran Permaquip for Harsco for a year, three years before Mark and I met. When I heard Permaquip had been acquired I got in touch and was delighted to discover that Mark had seen the same potential which I had always thought was there. Better yet, he then offered me the job of delivering his vision.
MD of Permaquip (ex-Harsco)
Once the agreement was reached the restructuring happened fast. A new location was found and the equipment moved within 2 weeks, freeing up the premises as desired by Harsco Rail. Staff were retained, new systems implemented and old relationships re-kindled with customers and suppliers, whilst Harsco Rail received the actual purchase price they had originally desired.
Following relocation to a new facility in Mansfield and after substantial investment, Permaquip rapidly began increasing turnover and profitability year on year.
Arkle Electronic Systems was born out of a retirement sale of one business which was subsequently amalgamated with a second retirement sale as well as the business, assets and employees of a neighbouring distressed competitor. All three businesses were consolidated and the company went from strength to strength.
Arkle Electronics offered design and manufacture of all types of harness looms and cable assemblies, complete box build of finished products for tracking devices, medical testing equipment, audio equipment and defence and aerospace parts, as well as delivering high quality printed circuit boards using it’s fully automated pick and place machines.
Over the past nine years I have enjoyed gaining an understanding of the pressures this sector faced and working to build the group of companies we had brought together. In September 2014 I sold my shares in AES as part of the broader deal surrounding the separation from my then business partner. I am actively looking to acquire another company in this sector, so please do get in touch if you are looking to retire or exit from a business. Thank you to all the staff at AES, I wish you and the business all the best.
CEO, Arkle Acquisitions
It is the ability of ARKLE to see beyond the initial challenges, to identify opportunities, and to act quickly in acquisition situations that enable our portfolio companies to grow and to thrive.
Amsys was acquired back in 2005. Even though the business had a 25 year trading history and was profitable, it had been up for sale for a number of years and the owner was struggling with a succession of poor managers. Many had looked at the business, all had said it was impossible to create a deal with a win-win scenario....however we found a solution…and fast.
I was brought into Amsys to oversee the accounting functions of the business. I was instantly impressed with the energy they put into improving both the ethos and the processes within the business. I remained as Finance Director following the management buyout whilst remaining engaged by ARKLE on other projects. During a working relationship spanning almost ten years I have found Mark unfailingly approachable and constantly willing to think “outside of the box” to construct transactions that are beneficial to both buyer and seller.
Financial Director, Amsys
Once the deal was agreed, the Team was sent in. They drove the business forward, increasing sales, implementing new management strategies, rebuilding confidence with all stakeholders and subsequently increasing turnover. More importantly, by year three, profitability was 3 times that of the previous projections as promoted by the then incumbent management.
After 7 years, we began to look for a suitable trade buyer to take the business to the next level. It was at this point that the management team made an approach to request assistance in structuring an MBO. In early 2013, a solution was crafted that supported the MBO with new investors and a corporate bank. Amsys is now the leading Apple Mac support company in the UK and the largest Apple technical training business in Europe!
But what of the original vendor? Well, the original deal saw the vendor’s stake reduced with a seven-figure sum paid within 36 months. A subsequent share repurchase today sees the original Vendor’s stake lowered again but more importantly he’s hassle free, the company has grown, become more profitable and he is still receiving dividends from the business.
Mark’s involvement with Coffee Nation started in 1999, when founding entrepreneur Martin Dawes was, in his own words, “sitting in my London bedsit eating a tin of cold spaghetti and contemplating an eye watering overdraft.” At that time Martin thought he had made a mistake with the business model and was struggling to see a way forward. Shutting the business down through an insolvency practitioner was even being contemplated.
There was a time, sitting in my London bedsit eating a tin of cold spaghetti and contemplating an eye watering overdraft, that I realised I’d made a mistake.
Founder, Coffee Nation
Mark started to work with Martin, analysing the business and coming up with concepts to renew the business model and put it on a profitable trajectory. Once the model had been devised and costed, seed money was sought and a new Chairman eventually appointed.
This began the period of phenomenal growth for the company, which was sold initially in 2008, including Mark’s minority stake, in a management buyout funded by Milestone Capital, Investec and RBS. The company sold again in 2011 to Costa Coffee.
Hunton is an iconic (if relatively little known) British boat brand. Often described as the 'Aston Martin' of powerboats, Hunton boats combine exceptional speed and handling with ultra high end luxury. It was founded in 1979 by Jeff Hunton, the well-known power boat racer, and the business was majority owned by the Warner family of Warner Estate Holdings PLC. In July 2009, Mark Sargent went to test drive a Hunton with a view to buying one and four days later Mark and his previous business partner Patrick had acquired a majority stake in the business!
I am not at all surprised that this is a boat connoisseur’s boat – it is simply the nicest, most fun boat I have ever driven!
Following a complex deal which took into account tax and other issues for the sole trader, it was accepted that what the business really needed was further investment. Before stepping back from Hunton in February 2011, Mark and Patrick oversaw the introduction of new investors to the business, who have to date invested well over two million of new cash into the business.
Please click on the companies above to get a brief history of how ARKLE works with individuals, the owners or the corporations, to find a solution that satisfied all parties.