Grow or complete life’s work
IRIS CF has been involved with many of its business clients for many years and has assisted in multiple transactions. In some cases, the process is short and intensive. Both on the sell side and on the buy side. “We enjoy and very much appreciate the entrepreneurship of our clients,” says Duncan Eduard, managing partner of IRIS CF. “We are therefore genuinely interested in what concerns these entrepreneurs and what drives them. You get to know the business owner quite well during such a process, and it’s very satisfying when a nice deal is concluded with your help. The more so because we realise that in this way we are contributing to the growth or completion of their life’s work.”
Top knowledge and quality for business owners
Extensive sector knowledge, high level of experience with debt advisory, equity funding and M&A transactions makes IRIS CF a powerhouse of top knowledge and quality. Their many years of experience and focus on the human element of dealmaking have resulted in a large network of entrepreneurs and investors. Both in the Randstad (Amsterdam-The Hague-Rotterdam) and in the rapidly developing region of Brabant (Eindhoven). Where necessary, IRIS CF engages notaries, lawyers, tax specialists and other business service providers to put together a strong team. Always based on the principle that we work transparently, openly and in language that’s understandable for the entrepreneur.
The hard and the soft side
The partners and employees of IRIS CF have different kinds of expertise but are cut from the same cloth. Jan-Willem Ditters, partner at IRIS CF puts it this way: “Concluding a good deal involves both the hard and the soft side. We can ‘bite’ when necessary, but we are not a sharky club that pushes through a deal at all costs. We know from experience that a tough approach does not lead to the best results. Instead, we are motivated to go that extra mile and also include the interests of the company and those involved. Where the shareholder might pull out, the rest of the company will continue with a new owner. And there you want the relationships to be secured. Especially in the case of a pre-exit. We feel it is our responsibility to keep going even when the going gets tough. We are happy to look for that creative solution that serves everyone’s interests. This is exactly the type of transaction where we offer added value.”
Increasing number of pre-exits
The world is moving faster and faster, resulting in shorter life cycles of companies. It is becoming more important to work with new business models, and entrepreneurs are more readily moving to acquisition or sale mode. Even at a relatively young age, more and more business owners are thinking about spreading risks and attracting ‘smart capital’. This allows them to strengthen their company and remain involved as a director, yet also capitalise on part of their company’s value. IRIS CF is seeing an increase in these so-called ‘pre-exits’ and frequently supervises them. Constructions in which the entrepreneur remains co-owner for 30, 40 or 50% are popular.
Duncan: “Today’s low interest rates are resulting in enormous availability of capital. On the other hand, the banking environment has become more difficult. We always look for the optimum form of financing that suits a company best. Sometimes it is private equity, sometimes a strategic buyer, or indeed the bank.”
Network and timing
What makes IRIS CF so powerful is the large network of companies and investors in which deals can be put out in a targeted manner. With the necessary discretion, as business owners generally want to keep their selling ambition under wraps. “Timing is important and because we know what is going on in the market, supply and demand regularly come together at the right time,” says Jan-Willem. “Of course we also supervise processes where the buyer has already established contact with an entrepreneur. In such cases, we contribute our expertise for valuation of the company and negotiations with the purchasing party.”
It will always be a people business
Buying and selling is and always will be a people business. What characterises IRIS CF is the balance between targeting the deal and building on the long-term interest for the client. Duncan: “We have an enormous drive to achieve results and we will just as easily advise our client against not to start a transaction process or not to proceed with a deal if we believe that this is not the right time. The decision is, of course, always up to the business owner.”