IFL lead M&A Advisor to Defence Sector ICT Contractor30.1.2024
Being approached by an interested buyer is an exciting prospect for most businesses. When an offer does come through, it’s important that owners take control of the process to ensure it’s competitive and the deal structure makes sense for their business – a process that can be complex and time consuming. If, like Canberra-based ICT Consultancy Axsym, your team is completely dedicated to billable client work, an M&A Advisor can become an invaluable asset.
With a particular focus on Federal Government contracts, AxSym had heard of our experience in the defence sector in particular. So, with an offer already on the table, they asked us to help them progress discussions. At the same time, we began exploring other potential acquirers who might offer a higher valuation and provide a strategic platform for the founders to continue to grow the business.
Additional party at the table drives competition
We introduced several parties to Axsym, including SOCO who met the shareholder and management objectives. The process immediately became more competitive, driving up the sale price. It also began to move much more quickly. A listed Australian ICT Consultancy and Microsoft Gold Partner, SOCO was interested in expanding its footprint in Canberra, making AxSym a compelling acquisition target. We continued to assist the AxSym team with their response to initial requests for information and questions from parties. But, after SOCO made an initial offer, AxSym’s shareholders decided to proceed with them alone.
Balancing act – five shareholders, multiple objectives
Selling a business can be an emotional process for owners. One of the most important roles of an advisor is taking the time to understand the objectives of each shareholder and structuring a path forward that balances these as best as possible. We worked closely with each of Axsym’s five shareholders throughout the process, to understand these objectives and continually revisit them, ensuring the outcome we were working towards was aligned.
A sprint to the finish line
From the initial SOCO offer in mid-September, the deal was completed on the 31st of October, a very tight six-week timeframe. Because SOCO is a listed company, they were required to announce the acquisition pending Due Diligence. Once this information was in the public domain, it added additional pressure to get the deal done quickly. Being a listed entity, SOCO also had a greater level of questioning and structure which we were able to manage on Axsym’s behalf.
“We’re thrilled to have been able to support Axsym’s shareholders with their 100% sale to SOCO. With multiple stakeholder objectives to consider and a short timeline, we applied creative solutions and achieved an outstanding outcome.”Graeme McKellar – Deal lead, InterFinancial