Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Be ‘whiter than white’ says Entrepreneur who sold business for millions

Steve Rawlinson, Chairman of Oakhouse Foods was the guest speaker at an entrepreneurs forum event organised jointly by Chartered Accountants Saffery Champness and Barclays Bank.

The event, which was held at Prevost Peterborough, took place on Wednesday 7 November and was attended by the CEO’s, MDs, FD’s and Directors of twenty businesses from Peterborough and South Cambridgeshire.

Oakhouse Foods, which is based in Wiltshire, is a home meals service founded in 1994 that delivers frozen meals and desserts throughout the UK. Steve Rawlinson was co-owner and MD from 2000 until the business was sold in 2017 to Kerry Foods.

Steve shared his experience of selling his business to Kerry foods and explained the history of the company, the dynamics caused by some shareholder tensions leading up to the sale, how the business was readied for sale, the sale itself, and what life has been like after the transaction in his new role.

Commenting, Mr Rawlinson said,

“Businesses owners that are considering selling need firstly ensure their accounts and operational processes are whiter than white in order to pass the due diligence process to avoid giving a buyer a reason to knock the price down. If you get a good offer, don’t be greedy as you never know what the future might hold. My advice is also to make sure you appoint a team of advisers who will support you. You’ll need an outstanding corporate lawyer, an accountant and someone who will help you invest the sale proceeds wisely.”

The event was hosted by Alistair Hunt and Fenella Martin-Redman from Saffery Champness and Steve Brown and Mark Harrod from Barclays Bank.

Alistair Hunt, Partner at Saffery Champness, who acted as advisors and accountants to Mr Rawlinson and Oakhouse Foods, commented,

“I am extremely pleased that Steve was able to share with us his experience and knowledge, as well as some of the more emotional aspects that a business owner will go through having taken the decision to sell their business. Most business owners will only sell a business once or twice in their life and often they have no one to ask how to do it.  Hearing Steve’s story I hope has given some food for thought and some new business relationships or networks have been formed.”

Steve Brown from Barclays added,

“We were delighted to have the opportunity to bring our clients together this evening to hear the story of Oakhouse Foods. Barclays is committed to supporting businesses in the local area to realise their strategies for growth, creating jobs in our community.”

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum was established by Alistair Hunt to encourage business leaders to attend dinners with other business owners to talk about their experiences for the forum’s benefit and debate. His passion is around business and entrepreneurship and these forums provide the most interesting way to meet and get to know businesses.


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