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.