Commonly used terminology explained

ACQUISITION

Any deal where the bidder ends up with 50% or more of the target is called an acquisition. A Bidder is the entity that makes the purchase or the offer to purchase. The Target is the entity being purchased, or the entity in which a stake is being purchased. The Vendor is the entity that sells or disposes of the target entity.

BIMBO

A combination of management buy-out and buy-in where the team buying the business includes both existing management and new managers.

BOND

The generic name for a tradeable loan security issued by governments and companies as a means of raising capital. Government bonds are known as gilts or Treasury Stock.

CREDITOR EXIT

A buy-out which has exited due to some kind of financial failure. The equity value of the company is generally written down to zero, and the company has ceased trading.

DEBENTURE

A legal document which formalises the lender's charge over the assets of the company.

DEBT

This may include bank loans, overdrafts, and lease financing and may be long or short term, secured or unsecured. The lender receives interest at an agreed rate and in the event that this is not paid may be entitled to take control of and sell certain assets owned by the company. A lender does not, however, generally have a share in the ownership of the business.

DEVELOPMENT CAPITAL

Also known as expansion capital. This is venture capital financing used for expansion of an already established company.

DUE DILIGENCE

This is one of the main processes which takes place before a transaction (e.g. MBO/MBI) is completed. The aim is to ensure that there is nothing which contradicts the financier's understanding of the current state and potential of the business. The individual elements of due diligence may include commercial due diligence (markets, product and customers), a market report (marketing study), an accountants report (trading record, net asset and taxation position) and legal due diligence (implications of litigation, title to assets and intellectual property issues).

EBIT

Earnings before interest and tax.

EBITDA

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. EBITDA is measure of cash flow. By excluding interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation the amount of money a company is bringing in can be clearly seen.

EQUITY

Equity is the term used to describe shares in a business conveying ownership of that business. The shareholders may be entitled to dividends. If a business fails, the shareholders will only receive a distribution on winding up after the lenders and creditors have been paid. An equity investment, therefore, has a higher risk attached to it than that facing a bank lender and thus the return that the shareholders demand on their money is typically higher. The most common source of equity finance for buy-outs is the venture capital market.

EXIT (REALISATION)

The point at which the institutional investors realise their investment. Venture capitalists may, depending on the business and their own situation, look to achieve an exit in anything from a few months to 10 years. Exits generally occur via trade sales, secondary management buy-outs and flotation on the stock market or by write-off if the investment ends in receivership.

FOREIGN DIVESTMENTS

A buy-out from a parent company which is based in a different country. E.g. A buy-out of a company with UK headquarters from a parent company in Germany.

GOODWILL

The difference between the price which is paid for a business and the value of its assets.

HIGH YIELD (JUNK) BONDS

Bonds which offer high rates of interest but with correspondingly higher risk attached to the capital.

IBO

An institutional buy-out. This is when a private equity firm acquires a business directly from the vendor. Often the target’s management will take a small stake.

INSOLVENCY (AS A SOURCE OF A BUY-OUT)

A company which has been bought out from a company which was in receivership/insolvent.

IPO

Initial Public Offer. Shares in a company have been placed on a stock exchange. An IPO is always just the first time a company’s shares are listed – if a company has a listing on another market or in another country, then the listing is not an IPO, merely a secondary, or additional, listing.

IRR

Internal rate of return. The average annual compound rate of return received by an investor over the life of their investment. This is a key indicator used by institutions in appraising their investments.

JOINT VENTURE

Two or more companies that form a new venture.

LBO

Leveraged Buy-Out, an American term. The takeover of a company by investors who use the company’s own assets as collateral to raise the money which finances the bid. Normally the loans are then repaid either from the company’s cash flow, or by selling some of its assets.

LBU

Leveraged build up. A venture capital firm builds up the company it owns by acquiring smaller companies to amalgamate into the larger firm, thus increasing the total value of its investments through synergies between the acquired companies.

LOAN NOTE

A form of vendor finance or deferred payment, in which the purchaser acts as a borrower, agreeing to make payments to the holder of the transferable loan note at a specified future date.

LOCAL DIVESTMENTS

A company which is bought out from a parent company which is based in the same country. E.g. A buy-out of a company with UK headquarters from a parent company with UK headquarters.

MBI

Management Buy-In. The company is sold to a new team of managers, with the new management team taking a majority stake. This often happens when family firms have no one onto whom to pass the company. The old owners sometimes retain a small stake. The management team often includes a venture capital firm.

MBO

Management Buy-Out. This is the purchase of a business by its management, usually in cooperation with outside financiers (e.g. private equity providers). Buy-outs vary in size, scope and complexity but the key feature is that the managers acquire an equity interest in their business, sometimes a controlling stake, for a relatively modest personal investment. The existing owners sell most or usually all of their investment to the managers and their co-investors.

MERGER

A true merger is actually quite rare. Many acquisitions are described as mergers but in a true merger, there is a one-for-one share swap, for shares in the new company. If the swap is not on equal terms then this is an acquisition.

MEZZANINE FINANCE

This is often used to bridge the gap between the secured debt a business can support, the available equity and the purchase price. Because of this, and because it normally ranks behind senior debt in priority of repayment, unsecured mezzanine debt commands a significantly higher rate of return than senior debt and often carries warrants (options to buy ordinary shares) to subscribe for ordinary shares. It ranks behind more formal borrowing contracts and is thus referred to as ‘subordinated’ or ‘intermediate debt’.

NET ASSET VALUE

This is the value of the company based on the valuation of the assets less any liabilities that it has in its balance sheet.

NEWCO

A new company formed to effect the buy-out by acquiring the operating subsidiaries.

ORDINARY SHARES

Ordinary shareholders carry full rights to participate in the business through voting in general meetings. They are entitled to payment of a dividend out of profits and ultimately repayment of capital in the event of liquidation, but only after other claims have been met. As owners of the company the ordinary shareholders bear the greatest risk, but also enjoy the fruits of corporate success in the form of higher dividends and/or capital gains.

PBIT

Profit before interest and tax.

PE RATIO

The Price Earnings ratio is one of the most commonly used measures of value in financial circles. It expresses the value in terms of a multiple of profits. For any company quoted on the Stock Exchange this figure can be easily calculated and is published daily in the Financial Times.

PREFERENCE SHARES

These fall between debt and equity. They usually carry no voting rights and have preferential rights over ordinary shareholders regarding dividends and ultimate repayment of capital in the event of liquidation.

PRIVATE [BUY-OUT]

A buy-out which is bought from private or family shareholders.

PRIVATE EQUITY

Private equity firms raise funds in order to buy equity stakes in businesses with a typical holding period of between five and seven years. In the case of the CMBOR database these will be controlling stakes, but private equity firms do also take non-controlling equity stakes in companies.

PRIVATISATION

A company which is bought out from government ownership.

PUBLIC BUY-IN

A buy-out of a stock market listed company with the company remaining on the stock market after the buy-out.

PUBLIC TO PRIVATE BUY-OUT/PTP

A buy-out of a stock market listed company with the company then delisting from the stock market after the buy-out.

RATCHET

A mechanism whereby management’s equity stake may be increased (or decreased) on the occurrence of various future events, typically when the institutional investor’s returns exceed a particular target rate

REVERSE TAKEOVER

An unlisted company acquires a smaller listed company, thus achieving a stock market listing ‘through the back door’. The acquisition is carried out by the listed company issuing new shares in order to acquire the unlisted company. As the unlisted company is larger than the listed one, the bidder has to issue so many new shares that the owners of the unlisted company end up with a controlling stake in the listed company.

SECOND-ROUND FINANCING

Most companies need more than the initial injection of capital, whether to enable them to expand into new markets, develop more production capacity, or to overcome temporary problems. There can be several rounds of financing.

SECONDARY BUY-OUT/SBO

A buy-out of a company which had already undergone a buy-out and is then sold directly to another buy-out team or private equity company.

SENIOR DEBT

Debt provided by a bank, usually secured and ranking ahead of other loans and borrowings in the event of a winding up.

SHARES

Certificates or book entries representing ownership in a business.

START-UP CAPITAL

Capital used to establish a company from scratch or within the first few months of its existence. Risky but with huge potential returns for the very successful.

SUBORDINATED LOAN

Loans which rank after other debt. These loans will normally be repayable after other debt has been serviced and are thus more risky from the lender’s point of view. Mezzanine finance is an example of a subordinated loan.

SYNDICATED INVESTMENT

Where an investment is too large, complex or risky, the lead investor may seek other financiers to share the investment. This process is known as syndication.

TRADE SALE

A common method of exit is a sale to a trade buyer. This can either allow management to withdraw from the business, or it may open up the prospect of working in a larger enterprise.

VENDOR FINANCE

Can either be in the form of deferred loans from, or shares subscribed by, the vendor. The vendor may well take shares alongside the management in the new entity. This category of finance is generally used where the vendor’s expectation of the value of the business is higher than that of management and the institutions backing them.

VENTURE CAPITAL

Equity finance in an unquoted, and usually quite young, company to enable it to start up, expand or restructure its operations entirely. It’s cheaper than bank finance initially because paying dividends can be deferred; it also provides a strategic partner – but it implies handing over some control, a share of earnings, and decisions over future sales.

WARRANTIES AND INDEMNITIES

Legal confirmation given by the seller, regarding matters such as tax or contingent liabilities, to assure the buyer that any undisclosed liabilities that subsequently come to light will be settled by the seller.