What was the structure of your business upon which the Ataraxia deal was based?
On the face of it our existing structure was straightforward. Three similarly aged directors each owning a third of the business and all more than 15 years away from state retirement age. We had however arrived at that point in 2011 as a result of a fairly complex route whereby Paul and I had bought ourselves out of a national broker ownership and Jim had some years earlier bought out his father’s share in the business. We ran parallel businesses until merging the two companies.
Having holidayed in New Zealand several times since 2004 visiting family and friends, my family and I were convinced by 2011 that this is where we wanted to live long term, but to do so at the optimum time in 2015, I needed either, Paul and Jim to buy my shareholding or find an external purchaser.
How did the Ataraxia involvement start?
Surprisingly it was simply an unsolicited email from Adam which arrived at an opportune time.
As I have heard from fellow Ataraxia brokers since, our professional advisers (as had theirs), suggested what was on offer seemed too good to be true. Three years down the line with my deal about to be completed I can confirm unequivocally that their offering is good and it is true!
What were critical factors in accepting the deal that Ataraxia proposed?
I was able to sell my shares without my co-shareholders resorting to external finance.
The remaining shareholders have retained full control of the business.
The deal has not impinged on earnings and profitability in any way.
The markets Ataraxia were proposing were very much our markets of choice and insurers we are happy to partner with. • The valuation was fair.
How has the deal timescale worked for you?
Emigration to a foreign country needs lots of forward planning and a set timescale. Having done the deal in 2012 it was destined to be completed in terms of my receiving all monies by October 2015.
I am pleased to say Ataraxia have fully met their obligations and I will receive my final instalment in time for my departure in a few weeks’ time. It has been great to have the confidence to know that the deal that I agreed three years ago was going to be fully honoured and meet the rather tight timescales imposed by my emigration.
What else have you been impressed with concerning Ataraxia?
The Ataraxia team are a pleasure to deal with. They do everything that they say they will do.
They genuinely care about what they do and what they achieve for the brokers in the group.
The Ataraxia vehicle utilising the override mechanism is an extremely versatile solution which was adaptable to meet our needs precisely.
Within the deal, the 50% share buy back option was very attractive in case things didn’t work and would have facilitated a fairly simple and cost effective way to achieve another solution.
Ataraxia are focused on different longer term objectives than any other potential acquiring broker and therefore do not focus on what they are getting out of the deal in terms of margin and profitability in the way that any other purchaser would.