‘Where are they now?’ – Harpal Singh

May 10, 2022

As part of our 10 year anniversary series ‘Where are they now?’, we decided to interview ex-client Harpal Singh, Founder of Conveyancing Alliance Limited. We chat to Harpal about why he chose to work with Bluebox, our ‘fit for sale’ service, how selling his business changed his life and what he is up to now.

 

Can you give us a brief description about the business and your involvement before selling?

Conveyancing Alliance Limited (CAL) is a B2B residential conveyancing distributor feeding a panel of national property law firms with referrals from mortgage brokers and estate agents. At the time of sale, the EBIT was around £1m. The distribution base was a few thousand mortgage brokers and a few hundred estate agency branches. I had been the Managing Director and driver of the business for just under 10 years as well as the main shareholder for around 5 years following acquisition via an MBO.

 

What were the highs and lows of the sale process for you?

Highs:

  • Being courted by and meeting with 5 potential buyers who all made offers
  • Achieving in excess of the target price
  • The deal was structured to the satisfaction of all shareholders

Lows:

  • The DD process was a little grueling as it was completed in a short space of time
  • Letting go of a business that I had built

 

Why did you choose Bluebox to assist with the sale process and how did we help?

One of our shareholders knew Bluebox. We were impressed with the ‘fit for sale’ service and found the people both polished and easy to deal with.

We were a small company essentially run by myself and one other director/shareholder. Whilst the business performance was stunning, the business structure was hard to understand. Bluebox worked with us for several months before going to market, getting us fit for sale. During this time they gained an intricate understanding of the business – which meant we produced a clear and robust IM.

After going to market we had a lot of interest. We shortlisted 5 serious buyers – all of them were trade buyers. Bluebox were well armed for negotiation and created a completive environment with all 5 buyers revising offers until we had narrowed it down to the last two. Bluebox helped us to fine tune the additional terms of the final bid.

Bluebox were invaluable during DD. As we had no FD or even senior accountant we needed a lot of help with the financial DD process. Bluebox had focused heavily on the Heads of Terms which made the lawyers’ life a lot easier. They worked closely with our lawyers to help iron out any bumps.

Once we had agreed the deal, Bluebox controlled the process and kept all parties focused to maintain momentum. Everyone hit every deadline and we completed bang on target.

 

What has happened to the business since selling?

The business has gone from strength to strength. It has maintained its growth trajectory whilst keeping to its core values. We understand it has changed hands again at a premium.

 

What advice do you have for business owners contemplating a sale exercise?

Make sure you get experts involved as early as possible. We learnt so much before we even made the final decision to sell.  Although we ended up selling to people we knew, without Bluebox I don’t think we would have been able to command the price we achieved or enjoyed the sale process as much as we did.

 

How has your life changed since selling the business?

I have a much more relaxed life now. I get to spend time with my family and have complete financial independence.

 

What are you doing now?

I have a small low maintenance business that helps keep the brain ticking over, but virtually runs itself. Other than that, I do the school run every day.

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