Optimize your personal wealth
or invest in your business?

Can you have both? The answer is yes!
Baudrier d'escalade

As an entrepreneur, you have taken many risks and worked hard to realize the opportunities to the best of your capabilities. When success follows, entrepreneurs look back to the arduous road taken, and start making trade-offs. Should I invest more in the company, or set aside some of the cashflow for personal reasons? Setting up an Owner Buy Out can give you the best of both worlds.

« Having aligned interests is key for Akiles. It is exactly what I experienced as entrepreneur at Immoweb, and it makes sense. » Christophe Rousseaux - partner Akiles

Depending on competition, growth phase of the company and age of the entrepreneur, his or her choices may become irrational and suboptimal.

As investors in private equity, we appreciate probably more than any entrepreneur how binary a non-diversified risk can be. After all, we assess hundreds of business cases and many didn’t make it, for reasons known, or unknown.

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How does Akiles set up an Owner Buy Out?

As an investor, Akiles implements this transaction according to different aspects:

From a financial point of view

In most cases, Akiles invests by acquiring part of the shares of the founders. Depending on the business plan of the company, we also consider if an additional capital increase is meaningful to boost growth.

In cases were the cashflow is sufficiently stable to serve both organic growth as repayment of debt, we will consider using financial leverage. In this case, a holding company could be useful for all parties involved, where Akiles co-invests with the historic shareholders.

From a governance point of view

Alignment is key for Akiles. We want the interests of the fund, the historic shareholders and the management to be aligned. Akiles generally acts as a minority shareholder with limited day-to-day involvement, which implies a good governance at board level is important.

As a long-term, evergreen fund, we have no exit constraints. This allows the company to focus on its growth path for the foreseeable future, rather than on an exit «problem» of just one stakeholder.

There are many other considerations, such as:

  • Strengthening the company's market position as much as possible
  • Reducing risks, e.g. by attracting new managers
  • The desire for further liquidity for each shareholder

From the entrepreneur's perspective

  • The owner buy-out can lead to liquidity for your share in the company in the range of 25% - 85% depending on the structure
  • The entrepreneur can freely invest his or her wealth in diversified assets
  • The entrepreneur remains shareholder, either minority, 50/50 or majority
  • The entrepreneur stays on board in the management

From the company & management perspective

  • The company and its team can invest rationally in its business plan, without compromise
  • The transaction structure can be used to motivate management to become shareholder
  • The transaction can be used to attract new management with aligned interest
  • As the management structure and teams strengthen, the company becomes less dependent of its founders, which adds value to all shareholders

From Akiles' perspective

  • Much like the entrepreneur, Akiles diversifies its own investment portfolio
  • Akiles' team takes part in a thriving company with a motivated team
  • Akiles' portfolio companies improve their network with the shared expertise

A trusted partner who lets you «in charge»

Akiles typically considers investments in SMEs with an EBITDA in the range of €0.5m and up to €5m. These are companies that have a proven business model and see further room to grow, thanks to a competitive edge or geographical expansion. In most of the SMEs, there is no extensive management team present in which case we will help set this in place.

Above all, we want to be respectful long-term partners next to entrepreneurs.

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