Setting out this transaction in one sentence might make you think the process is fairly straight forward….. oh how wrong you would be.
I’ve been involved in mergers and acquisitions within the housing world for some time now and consider that I fully understand the process that our clients have to go through to achieve their merger goal. However, having been through our own transaction, I can now empathise with the frustration and pain that can seem part of every minute in the lead-up to the final approval of a deal.
Altair’s journey to the LSE began in December 2014 when, the four Altair Partners, agreed that our next stage of growth would be enhanced by a listing of some sort. Our decision was confirmed by the full Board in January 2015 and the game was afoot!
An original timetable for listing by the end of June (6 months) was set; plenty of time we all thought. This view was supported by our two non executives on the board who have both been through all of this before. However, I was later to discover that they were either looking back nearly twenty years through rose tinted glasses or just didn’t want to truly let us understand what we were in for.
The due diligence and the additional reporting to complete the transaction was substantially more than originally envisaged with, it felt like, new reports and new acronyms (LFR, SFR, FPPP, PFI, SCR, WCR etc, etc, etc) being required daily as the end of June arrived. Throw into the mix a fistful of advisors and other stakeholders for both GI and Altair (stock exchange, lawyers, auditors and shareholders….) and that makes for lots of updates and hundreds of e-mails.
Unsurprisingly, the need for additional approvals and final details to be checked, the deadline moved to the end of July and then mid-August which was achieved (big sigh of relief from our team; me and our Finance Manager).
Now having had a couple of weeks distance from the financial close, I have the following points to bequeath to any organisation wanting to list a company:
- set out a clear project plan, with well thought through milestones
- always give yourself more time than your advisors think you need
- ensure that your reporting and communication structure will allow strategic decisions to be taken by all but that updates and briefings are seen as such (not up for debate!)
- assemble a small, dedicated team with decision making powers who can deal with issues at any time of the day (or night)
- have a live risk register, identify specific risks and monitor the on-going position
- realise from the start that you will never have enough coffee, chocolate or gin!!
If you are considering how you might want to change the structure of your organisation to support growth, are looking at future mergers or even decide that part of your business would benefit from being listed then please contact Susan Kane, Partner at Altair on 07870 685 891 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan leads the Finance team at Altair and works across the wider Altair team to provide practical and hands-on support to housing organisations tackling significant structural projects.