March 29, 2013

An acquisition can mean the beginning, rather than the end

Some startup companies are created for the sole purpose of one day being acquired. Other business leaders come to the decision to sell over time. Either way, the M&A process will be much smoother when the necessary preparations have been taken. Included in that is company owners understanding that their organization can continue to grow and be successful regardless of whether they are still there.

Luke Johnson wrote a contribution piece for the website BDLive. Based in the U.K., Johnson recently sold his family-friendly restaurant chain Giraffe. He explained that it is not uncommon to feel fear during company acquisitions, especially when the business being sold is one that you built from the ground up.

Overall though, Johnson said that entrepreneurs are invigorated by the opportunity to create and see that creation grow into something more.

According to Johnson, his entire journey with the restaurant was a positive one. He was chairman and co-owner for nine years and saw the company expand 10-fold during that time. However, in the article, he explained how, when the time came, he understood what needed to be done to keep the organization moving forward.

"The sale process had its moments of drama," he said. "Part of me didn't really want to depart, but the offer price was attractive, and it was the right step in the evolution of the business."

Johnson explained that Giraffe was acquired by Tesco, a large U.K.-based retailer. He has high hopes of his company's culture being preserved and that the employees will remain on-board and satisfied. Regardless, the entrepreneur said that he looks forward to his next opportunity and if he has the chance to build something like Giraffe again, he will consider himself very fortunate.