Matching buyers and sellers of insolvent businesses and distressed assets

Business failures are rising dramatically and is also growing rapidly, regularly matching serious buyers and qualified sellers of distressed businesses instantly online via its new web-based insolvency marketplace.

More than 1,000 potential buyers and their representatives have already registered to receive details of the latest insolvent businesses and distressed assets for sale. The UK’s leading insolvency practitioners post their insolvent businesses and assets for sale on the site, which then automatically matches a particular business for sale with potential buyers. These business opportunities can include companies in administration and pre-packs, as well as companies in receivership or liquidation with significant business assets for sale.

Registered buyers, who can specify their buying criteria in advance, include private equity firms, corporate finance advisors and venture capital partners searching for corporate turnaround and investment opportunities, as well as individual entrepreneurs seeking attractive business opportunities and companies looking to grow through acquisition. They receive fresh email alerts of each new business opportunity automatically and can express an interest in a distressed business online. Those expressions of interest are sent direct to the specific insolvency practitioner handling the case – often in a matter of minutes after the initial posting.

We also have a Classified section, which features 'customer list-plus' opportunities. These listings typically include the customer list, sales history, access to former sales staff, telephone numbers and website of businesses mostly in liquidation. Potential buyers can express an interest in these opportunities quickly online and each expression of interest will be sent direct to the appropriate insolvency practitioner or their representative. Click on the Classified menu tab to view current listings.

You can register now to post a distressed business for sale or as a potential buyer to receive details of the latest insolvent businesses to buy. Registration is free.

Buyer profiles has more than 1,000 users registered as potential buyers. These include private equity firms, corporate finance advisors and venture capital partners.

In addition to larger corporate entities, often representing multiple client interests, the database includes many principals of companies seeking to grow through acquisition and individual entrepreneurs who are looking for specific business opportunities.

The following selection of buyer profiles will give you just a flavour of the range and depth of acThe following selection of buyer profiles will give you just a flavour of the range and depth of acquisition resources you can tap into via

Multi-channel retailer of clothing, footwear, household and fishing tackle products

Global 100 law firm with clients across 11 principal business sectors and practice areas that include strategic transactions, corporate finance and private equity

Broad-based engineering firm with international client base

Small-company investment specialist that claims to have provided private equity and venture capital to more UK SMEs than any other investor in the marketplace over the last five years

Active construction company working in the public and private sectors

Unit trust of substantial landed estate focusing on commercial property opportunities

Leading global private investment firm with more than $7.5 billion of capital under management

Leading chartered surveyor specialising in corporate asset management

Private equity firm that typically invests up to £3m in established people businesses with good management

Leading leisure resort operator

Independent private equity house focusing on acquisitions and investments in special situations that include turnaround opportunities and financial restructurings

International asset consultant featuring a substantial corporate recovery and insolvency division

Turnaround partnership that specialises in driving change through small to medium enterprises to stabilise a business and lay the foundations for achieving growth

Real estate agent and broker also handling a substantial portfolio of its own property

Private equity house with a diverse portfolio of investments, currently including companies in the medical, social care, property and furniture sectors

Full service accountancy/business advisor with national and regional clients seeking acquisition opportunities

UK and international intellectual property management firm that develops and commercialises new products for global markets, as well as advising technology companies, branded consumer product manufacturers and business services companies

Partnership of entrepreneurial individuals investing in private equity transactions with a strong track record across a range of industries, typically looking to invest £3-10 million of equity in each deal

Professional services firm represented in more than 70 countries with a client base that ranges from individuals and owner managed businesses to large corporations and public sector organisations

Recognised international leader in the acquisition and disposal of industrial capital assets, including plant and machinery, industrial inventory, furniture, fixtures and real estate

Featured business postings

This is a selection of typical recent postings. They are not necessarily current.

Labour recruitment and provision of personnel

Turnover £5m to £9.99m
Employees 10 to 99
The company specialises in providing temporary staff to certain local authorities, which account for in excess of 75% of its annual turnover of circa £5.5 Million.

Other recreational activities

Turnover £100k to £499k
Employees 1 to 9
Leasehold operation of a 12 lane 10 pin Bowling Alley, play Area, Bar, Kitchen, Quasar. Selby, Yorkshire. Either as going concern or asset sale. Current turnover between 3.5k and 7.5k per week; rent 1k per week; wages 1.5k to 2.5k per week. Scope for substantial improvement.

Manufacture of fabricated metal products

Turnover £1m to £4.99m
Employees 10 to 99
This company is offered for sale prior to administration and is the profitable arm of an insolvent group. The company's activities are that of the design manufacture and installation of signage in metals and plastics for an impressive portfolio of High Street retail names. Turnover in 2008 circa £3.5 million, with profits of £90,000. Assets include: CNC manufacturing facilities, in-house finishing facilities, neon sign manufacturing equipment, project management, and full maintenance facilities.

Architectural and engineering activities

Turnover £1m to £4.99m
Employees 10 to 99
Trading in an insolvency procedure
The UK based practice specialises in hotels and spas, retail and leisure - providing masterplanning, architecture and interior design services to a range of famous brands. Operations include working for clients and projects in the UK and Ireland, plus several new European countries including Greece, Romania, Lithuania and Malta. It has over 20 clients and currently employs 13 people in London. This business has a great reputation and client base and the Joint Administrators are continuing to service clients.

Manufacture of fabricated metal products

Turnover £1m to £4.99m
Employees 10 to 99
This Nottingham based Specialist Precision Metal Fabrication Company is offered for sale following the appointment of Joint Administrators who are trading the Company as a going concern whilst a purchaser is sought for the business and assets. The Company operates within a specialist industry and also contracts precision metal fabrication within the general marketplace both in the UK and abroad. It has recently expanded its customer portfolio towards other niche markets such as environmental projects and projects considerable success with this in the future. Turnover for FY 2008 circa £2 million. Majority of sales for the “stakes with prizes” gaming industry. Fully equipped with the latest manufacturing facilities. Offers a complete service from design through to manufacture using CAD/CAM with a variety of file formats. Laser profiling and CNC punch press facilities, 2.5 metre pressbrakes, Stud, Spot, MIG and TIG welding facilities. Workforce of 20 and leasehold factory of 15,000 sq ft.

For more postings, please register

News snapshot

MPs Call for More Action on Pre-packs

Public confidence in the insolvency regime is being and will be further damaged if the worst examples of pre-pack deals are not curbed, according to a report by the Business and Enterprise select committee into the Insolvency Service.

“Prompt, robust and effective action is needed to ensure that pre-pack administrations are transparent and free from abuse,” the report concludes. “Unsecured creditors tend to be kept in the dark and recover even less than they would in a normal administration. This causes particular outrage where the existing management buy back the business and continue to trade clear of the original debts. Pre-packs of this kind fuel understandable concerns about illegitimate, self-serving alliances between directors and insolvency practitioners.”

The report demands that the interests of unsecured trade creditors must take a higher priority, especially in ‘phoenix’ pre-pack administrations, and suggests that the insolvency system, the Insolvency Service and the insolvency profession all risk real reputational damage if the situation is not addressed.

“More worryingly,” the MPs’ report continues, “many SMEs appear to be suffering unreasonable financial harm with no corresponding benefits to the wider economy. Where there are good reasons for an insolvency practitioner agreeing to a pre-pack, which there can often be, this must be explained clearly and fully. Where there are no good reasons for entering a pre-pack, this must be exposed before the damage is done.”

R3 Believes SIP 16 Can Work

R3 has made a robust defence of the insolvency profession’s handling of pre-packs in response to the Business and Enterprise select committee’s report into the Insolvency Service and has called for more time for the new Statement of Insolvency Practice 16 to take full effect.

Peter Sargent, President of the insolvency trade body, says: “The investigation of the Insolvency Service has certainly picked up on the exaggerated claims about the perceived dangers of pre-packs. As yet there has been no evidence of any systematic abuse of pre-packs and there are clear benefits in pre-packs for secured creditors and saving jobs.

“We believe that SIP 16, which came into force on January 1, will succeed in its aims to increase transparency; and together with the Insolvency Service’s ‘policing’ of pre-packs should be given time to show that these systems and checks are working. A survey of our members in April showed that of the 35% of insolvency practitioners that performed a pre-pack since 1 January 2009, 99% of them said they had complied with SIP 16.”

R3 expressed concerns to the select committee over the reduced levels of funding for the investigation and enforcement activities by the Insolvency Service and Sargent adds: “We know that not all reports submitted by IPs believed to merit investigation are pursued by the Insolvency Service. Therefore reducing funding for this activity is counterintuitive during these recessionary times where fraud is on the increase and IPs are unmasking more incidences of fraudulent behaviour.”

A recent survey, carried out for R3 by polling company ComRes in April 2009, revealed that more than 39% of respondents (to whom this question was applicable) had seen an increase in the number of corporate fraud cases, and 33% had seen an increase in personal fraud.

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Featured event

R3’s SPG Forum

15 – 16 October Warwickshire, Chesford Grange Hotel

Course directors: Fiona Monson, Armida Business Recovery LLP; Amanda Ireland, McCabe Ford Williams

The SPG forum is a well established and popular conference in the R3 calendar. The forum focuses on the pertinent and topical issues concerning the smaller practitioner and includes a traditional forum debate, which always allows the key questions of the day to be raised in what has come to be known as a very lively discussion session! This conference is only open to R3 members from small firms.

For more information visit R3 - Association of Business Recovery Professionals

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Brief testimonial

“Our first posting on was a pre-appointment case involving a property portfolio. I was worried that we might be inundated with timewasters but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of expressions of interest. Posting the business was straightforward. It was a quick and easy way to test the market.”
Paul Whitwam, Senior Manager, Tenon Recovery

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Quick case study

An insolvency practitioner handling a pre-appointment case in the Midlands was up against the clock. The primary challenge for the IP was to find a buyer/investor before the business was pushed into administration because a bank with a substantial loan outstanding could pull the plug at any moment and would then set its own agenda.

Through the IP was able to cast the net widely and test the market quickly, receiving a significant number of expressions of interest from serious potential buyers within 24 hours. These expressions of interest also helped to validate further expressions of interest from interested parties introduced by the existing management.

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