Deal closed: August 2017
Oasis M&A mandate: Sell-side
Sectors: Wholesale Distribution
Sub-sectors: Water Filtration
Background & motivation
Aquaport has operated for over ten years, starting as a water filtration business then expanding to include air purification and its accessories. It has two brands, Aquaport and Cli-Mate. The Aquaport brand includes a suite of water purification and chiller products, inclusive of desktop and under sink systems, filter taps, fridge filters, and floor standing water coolers suitable for home and office. The Cli-Mate brand consists of a product range which includes air dryer humidifiers, air purifiers, aroma diffusers, desktop air purification systems and compressor dehumidifiers.
The company approached Oasis to find a suitable buyer for its business.
This campaign was characterised by a complex shareholder structure that meant a number of competing interests had to be taken into consideration.
Furthermore, corporate activity over the years meant there were potentially significant issues that needed to be addressed in order for a deal to be consummated.
Oasis M&A had to use its negotiating expertise to address these issues and ensure that a deal completed, exercising significant levels of patience throughout each stage of the transaction.
Oasis M&A reached out to targets, focusing on those with the ability to leverage brands. This included companies engaged in home appliance distribution, air and water product distribution, home appliance manufacturing, wholesaling, general distribution and private equity. This campaign was focused predominantly on the Australian and New Zealand market. Oasis M&A discretely approached and qualified 100 targets, divulging Aquaport’s identity to just two parties, both of whom made offers for the company.
The approach of going wide to qualified targets in adjacent sectors without divulging our client’s identity meant that there were no leaks to customers, staff and management before finalisation and the announcement of a deal.
The eventual acquirer was Breville, an ASX listed manufacturer and distributor of household appliances. As an iconic global brand, Breville distributes products to more than 70 countries around the globe. Both Cli-Mate and Aquaport have an established network of mainstream and specialist retailers that complements the Breville brand distribution.
Breville integrated the Aquaport business with its own offering and Aquaport’s chief executive stayed on with the business to provide category insight to the Breville team.
Oasis was also able to secure a better valuation from Breville than from the competing bid, because Breville’s approach of merging the operations meant it could value the business more favourably.
“I was given the task of preparing our business for sale, so I needed to engage a business broker who was as excited about our business and its potential as I was. Being the CEO of a medium-sized, national enterprise operating in South Australia, I was hopeful of attracting national or even international interest, something which was not likely to happen using a local broker. My research subsequently led to the appointment of OasisM&A, a boutique firm operating out of Sydney.
Being interstate was not an issue for Michael and his team, as they quickly gained a solid understanding of our business and prepared a sales strategy.
Selling a business is often a long, drawn-out journey. Negotiations can be complicated, stressful, gut-wrenching and emotional at times. I found much comfort in having the support of OasisM&A during this period.
OasisM&A prepared and contacted the list of potential purchasers, from which they were able to gain genuine expressions of interest. Their advice to me was spot-on and our business was subsequently sold to a large corporation who weren’t actively acquisitive at the time. This demonstrates that OasisM&A have the skills, experience, and professionalism to make things happen and to turn things in your favour. I am convinced they maximised the shareholder value of our company at the time of sale.”