Case study 5

Guiding a company through the sale process

Nigel was appointed by the chairman of a substantial private company to help the chief executive, who had been charged with selling the business. The CEO was new to the job and while he knew his industry well, he had limited management experience and no knowledge of corporate finance issues. He was daunted by overseeing the US investment bank conducting the sale and by having to develop plans in parallel to restore profitability should the sale fall through.

Nigel advised the chief executive how to:

  • monitor and minimise the risks in the sale process
  • manage the investment bank and understand their needs and concerns
  • motivate the inner circle of senior staff who were ‘in the know’
  • identify key decisions in advance, and ensure they were well taken
  • establish a viable strategy to restore profitability without harming the sale
  • maintain the confidence of the board and other stakeholders

The sale process lasted more than a year and was unusually complex. During this time, Nigel Pantling helped the CEO keep problems in perspective, identify priorities, test solutions in advance and keep his board informed. The business was eventually sold successfully for significantly more than the board had envisaged.