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An Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) is a Trust established for the long-term benefit of the employees. Selling a business to an EOT is an increasingly popular exit route for business owners.
The transaction was delivered by Quantuma’s Corporate Finance team, led by Managing Director Adrian Howells and Manager Richard Hill. The team was supported by colleagues from Quantuma’s sister company, K3 Tax Advisory, Managing Director Holly Bedford and Associate Director Dominic Lay.
SBC was incorporated in 2000 by Peter and Helen Matthews. The Company specialises in made-to-measure blinds, specifically remote-control blinds, and home automation integration. Whilst the transaction has allowed Peter and Helen to realise their investment, Peter will continue as Managing Director of SBC, supported by longstanding employees Cheryl Ede and Sarah Edwards. This will provide continuity to both customers and employees.
EOTs grant employees effective ownership of the company. Studies have shown such structures to motivate employees to drive further growth, as they hold a stake in the long-term success of the company and stand to benefit from any future dividends. This not only helps to improve employee retention but can also help to recruit the best new industry talent.
Rather than maximising value by selling to a third-party buyer, Peter and Helen were exceptionally keen to ensure the company remained in the hands of its employees, who have supported them in creating a high-quality product offering. Similarly, Peter and Helen declined to introduce third-party debt, which can be employed to accelerate payments to the exiting shareholders, thereby leaving SBC on stronger footing.
Quantuma acted as the trusted financial advisor throughout the process. The team provided lead financial advice, company valuation and tax structuring, whilst leveraging its extensive experience in delivering M&A transactions to navigate complex issues and deliver a successful transaction.
Commenting on the successful transaction, Adrian Howells, Managing Director at Quantuma said:
"We are really pleased to have delivered this transaction for Peter and Helen and helped them to navigate the transition to an employee-owned model. Employee ownership is becoming more popular than ever, being used increasingly often to empower employees, whilst securing a tax-efficient exit for shareholders, and creating a sustainable base for future growth.
Working with Peter has been an absolute pleasure. He has built an impressive business and clearly cares a lot about his team and his customers. We look forward to seeing SBC’s team share the Company’s success under employee ownership."
Peter Matthews, owner of SBC, added:
“The transition to employee ownership is an exciting step in SBC’s development and I would like to convey my profound appreciation to our remarkable team and loyal customers who have supported us throughout the years. I look forward to working alongside the team as we continue to evolve and innovate to provide exceptional products to our valued customers.
My thanks to the Quantuma and K3 Tax Advisory team, who provided exceptional deal support, generated added value in this transaction and proved to be a solid sounding board when considering options in what can evidently be a complex transaction.”
The EOT transaction was delivered in partnership with Stuart Mullins (Partner, Clarkslegal LLP) and Jacob Montague (Solicitor, Clarkslegal LLP) acting for SBC, and Jeremy Hyde (Director, Howes Percival LLP) who acted as the lawyer on behalf of the Trust. The legal teams worked together to ensure compliance with regulations, secured approval from the FCA for change of control and delivered a tax-efficient structure.