Our Client – The Vendor
Johnsons’ client “Spares Online” operates a proprietary online eCommerce platform, paired with automated distribution systems, for the national retailing of spare parts & consumables for a wide range of domestic appliances and consumer electronics. It offers one of Australia’s largest ranges of 4 million parts through a front-end website that makes it easy for consumers to find the right item and carry out their own DIY installation. The online shopfront is backed by a leading-edge, proprietary IT platform and a highly automated operational environment. These ensure a seamless customer experience, while providing the Business itself with significant cost & productivity efficiencies.
At the time of sale “Spares Online” was highly ranked, attracting +1.3 million visits, +10 million page views and had completed over +65 thousand pre-paid orders in the previous year. The Business was both efficient & highly profitable, generating +60% sales growth over the preceding 4 years with healthy EBIT margins and just 7 staff. After 10 years of building the Business to be one of Australia’s leading online spares resellers and having recently started a young family, the Vendors sought a strategic acquirer to take the Business to the next level. Following discussions with one of the Big Four accounting firms, they decided to engage Johnsons Corporate as mid-market business brokers who specialised in selling mid-sized private businesses to strategic trade buyers.
The International Sales Strategy
As an established and profitable eCommerce business in a high growth sector, “Spares Online” presented potential acquirers with a number of attractive opportunities. Not only could they leverage the Business’s comprehensive product database, its +400,000 customer-base, and a proprietary DIY wiki database of +70k entries – new owners would also have at hand a unique just-in-time distribution platform ready-made to bring to market any number of additional consumer goods categories.
Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing spanned local and international markets, focusing on Online Retailers as a primary segment. As secondary target segments it also took into account commercial enterprises operating in related markets – including Spare Parts Distribution, Technology & Electronics Supply, and Repair & Maintenance Services – as well as a shortlist of private equity & financial buyers. Johnsons ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that uncovered +35 qualified, interested parties. Within 8 weeks of going-to-market Johnsons had secured written offers from 3 competing parties, with Offer and Acceptance secured with the preferred buyer 3 weeks later.
Based in Europe, the buyer is a leading spare parts supplier to markets across the EU and globally. For this wholesale distribution group, the acquisition presented an opportunity to expand into a new geographic market as well as to diversify its revenue streams.
What Our Client Had to Say
“The approach Johnsons took made commercial sense to us and they seemed to specialise in mid-sized private businesses like ours. They weren’t like some of the other brokers we spoke with… We had a second meeting and Johnsons walked us through how their back-end CRM system worked as well as their approach to researching potential buyers, both locally and internationally. After this second meeting we felt more comfortable, spoke with some of their previous clients, and then made the decision to run with them... Johnsons were great to deal with, always accessible and worked with us to get a result we were happy with. They helped to manage the due diligence process as well as the legals. We have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Johnsons Corporate to other similar mid-sized private businesses.”Director - Spares Online