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Morgan Cox

Morgan Cox

Morgan Cox is the CEO of the Morgan Cox Ltd Group of Companies. Market information and news items are published regularly by any of the respective teams in the Morgan Cox Group. Morgan Cox Ltd is a specialist niche consultancy, providing valuation and sales services. Our clients typically instruct us to acquire a strategic businesses/practices or execute a planned exit from their business. Our teams comprise of expert valuers and brokers in Health Care markets (dental, pharmacy, physiotherapy, medical) and white collared professional markets (accountancy, legal, schools) and other areas.

Are you thinking of selling your medical business this year?

Recently we have seen an increase in the number of medical practices entering the market. In fact the number of buyers waiting for the right medical practice has doubled over the last 12 months. What is the reason for this? That's a difficult question to answer but in the current economic climate we have seen a broader diversity of buyers looking to invest money in a safe industry.

If you are looking to sell your practice then the first step would be to contact a specialist medical broker. They will be able to give you an accurate assessment of the current market conditions and also give you an estimate of what your practice may be worth.

It is only by going to the market that the real interest in your private medical practice will be established. If you would like a free initial consultation with no obligation to proceed then contact Morgan Cox who would be delighted to talk you through the next steps. We have buyers waiting and one of them may be for your business.

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In this months Morgan Cox physiotherapy blog we publish an interview with a physiotherapist who successfully built up a small chain of physiotherapy clinics but unfortunately ran into problems during the sales process.
Can you tell us about your physiotherapy clinics?
I qualified as a physiotherapist in 1992 and after a short spell in the NHS went into the private sector. I initially worked as a freelancer and advertised in the local paper and in various gyms and health centres. After 6 months I had enough work to take on my own freelancers and to leverage the brand I had developed and the good local reputation and demand. Within 5 years we had purchased the freehold to a terraced building and had 5 treatment rooms, mainly for MSK work but also other therapies.
This model served us well so we used this business model in another geographical area so as not to compete with our current customer base. Within 15 years of starting we had 3 clinics, 2 freehold properties and plenty of staff. 
Why did you want to sell?
You are right, we had developed a very successful business however all our equity was wrapped up in the business. We wanted to cash in and take out some of the equity we had built up. We also decided to privately educate our children so we needed some cash to finance that.
How did you go about selling.
We put a couple of adverts in the CSP journal front line however this really started the next cycle of events. We also approached our major competitor to see if he wanted to take over our clinics.
Why can you explain more?
Unfortunately it wasn't difficult for our staff to guess that the advert was us. Two of them immediately left to work for our major competitor and others started to think about getting employment elsewhere. They were all worried about work and what might happen once the clinics were sold and if they would be kept on.
We also arranged various meetings with the owners of our major competitor. It made sense that he took us over as he would have had economies of scale in the market. He asked to see various financial information and to conduct due diligence on our business. We thought this would be confidential however within 2 months he had poached several of our large clients by offering them better terms than we had agreed with them. We believe he also used the fact that we might sell as a deal clincher.
Did the local competitor end up buying your business?
Did you speak to a lawyer to get some legal advice?
Yes. We were told that had we signed a non disclosure agreement then we could have taken action to prevent the information being used against us and also to claim lost revenue. Unfortunately I didn't know about non disclosure agreements as this was the first time I had tried to sell a business.
Way did you do next?
We paid for the services of a UK expert in this field to provide consultancy to help us get out of this mess. 
What was the advice?
the Morgan Cox team advised me that we had initiated a fire sale. We could no longer service our work due to staff shortages, our income had dropped due to the loss of our larger contracts. Their advice was that the goodwill value had been damaged and hence the achievable value for the business was likely to have been reduced. We were advised to focus on rescuing the business, reinstate it to a sustainable level and to take the business (and any thought of a sale) off the market.
What happened next?
It took us several years to get back to where we were previously. We subsequently sold the business for an amount which we were very pleased about. Naturally we used the UK experts Morgan Cox to represent us during the sales process. They were very professional and made the whole process a lot more bearable the second time around.
What lessons did you learn?
Know your limitations. I was we'll outside my comfort zone and expertise trying to sell a business. It's a professionals game and even a minor mistake can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and years of hard work.
Utilise the services of experts as it is cheaper in the long term to get things right the first time.
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The state and health of the NHS is questionable at present with the current £20 billion cost savings that are currently occurring during this period of austerity.

In the last 3 months Morgan Cox Physiotherapy have had a 35% increase in the number of physiotherapists register as eager buyers of their own private physiotherapy practice. This compares with figures for the same period 12 months ago.

Many physiotherapists when questioned about why they are thinking about changing their employment status reply that they are under an enormous amount of pressure and in some case have had enough of NHS management and patient expectations.

We have seen the vast majority of these registrations come from London (and also other major cities) and the net result of this demand is that there has been an upswing in values that physiotherapy practices are currently changing hands for. The net result is that if you have been planning on selling your private clinic or practice then now may be a good time with plenty of interest around in the market.

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Posted by on in Pharmacy News
We are delighted to inform our registered buyers that we have released a new buyers tier that gives them a competitive advantage and financial savings our our general buyer tier.
For 2013 we shall have a limited number or geographically located memberships available to our pharmacy buyers. For a small yearly fee this will give these buyers the following advantages over standard buyers. These include:
  • Featured advert in our platinum buyers section, advertising their requirements. These ads are read by vendors and owners who are looking to sell and provide a unique way of introducing you to the exact type of pharmacy that you are after.
  • 14 days advanced viewing window. You will have the first option to view and decide on new pharmacies before the general buyer tier. This gives you a competitive advantage over others.
  • To join this membership simply contact us.
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2013 Market Update:

View our latest pharmacies for sale

The first 2 months of 2013 have continued to show the same market conditions of 2012. Demand for high quality pharmacies remains the same and many of those pharmacies new to the market are receiving full or near full asking prices within short time frames.

Profitability remains a key element only second to location on what buyers are looking for in advertised pharmacies. Many of our registered buyers are now looking at travelling even further distances from home to run and manage a pharmacy due to the high competition levels. Within an hours commute tends to be a common phrase that we hear from keen buyers.

Morgan Cox Pharmacy are please to announce that we have registered our 1500'th active buyer. Our buyer registration database seems to be a very popular method form pharmacists looking to purchase to easily register and receive email notification of suitable pharmacies direct to their email in box.

Many of our pharmacies that are brought to the market are never advertised on our website but are snapped up by our new platinum buyers tier. Full details can be found on our website for this new service to buyers.

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Posted by on in Dental News

In 2012 Morgan Cox dental gained a significant share of the dental practice sales market by using a simple switch in tactics when compared to other dental brokers.

For decades brokers have been charging the owner of a dental practice a % sales commission plus VAT for dealing with their dental practice sale. Owners have felt rather short changed about this as they also have significant other costs associated with he transaction such as legal fees, accountancy fees and lets not forget about capital gains tax. For many owners the sale of their practice is the final step into retirement and the proceeds of all their hard work are crucial to a comfortable break from the day to day stresses of running a business. It is also noted that those buying into dental practices and businesses are considerably younger with many years ahead of them.

In late 2012 we spoke to many of our current clients to perform some market research into how they felt about our service and the dental brokerage market at large. We were encouraged by their comments and feedback. Much of their input and advice has been taken directly back into the market, demonstrating why we are at the sharp end of dental practice sales market.

So we are pleased to tell all those thinking about selling their dental practice in 2013 and beyond. We will not charge you a penny to sell your dental practice. We promise not to charge you an engagement fee, marketing fee, valuation fee or sales commission once we sell your dental practice. At the same time you can ensure that we will get you the maximum price possible in the market using our tried and tested techniques.

Don't pay £15,000 + VAT to be one of a several hundred dental practices for sale on an agents website. Pay NOTHING and receive a personalised service which is second to none. Contact us today

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Developing a business strategy can be difficult particularly when it relates to the accountancy market. Making it work can sometimes prove even harder. In our November's accountancy news blog we interviewed in detail some of the brokers at Morgan Cox Accountancy who have an in depth knowledge of the accountancy practice sales market place in the United Kingdom.
Here was the question we put to the team:

Can you provide a brief summary of the market place (November 2012) so that we can tell all those practice partners or owners who are appraising the market what is currently happening?
Is it currently a buyers or sellers market?

One of the Brokers at Morgan Cox Accountancy summarised the current market situation:
"It’s a competitive process and for every practice we take to the market at present we have over 300 buyers who are waiting. Buyers don't realise this and sometimes try to perform an acquisition by the book, however my advice would be to act quickly and be as flexible and accommodating as possible in view of it being a sellers market"

It's probably not news to many of you in the market at the moment, but it's definitely a sellers market. There is an increasing demand for any type of practice and those that do come to the market receive a lot of interest from potential buyers. Mid sized practices don’t come to the market very often, and when they do there is always a lot of interest and they go for the upper end of what you may consider a market going GFR multiple.

Recently Morgan Cox Accountancy introduced around 9 companies to a single practice in a 2 week period. Last month they marketed a £400,000 GRF practice, introduced 11 parties and sold it for a 1.25 multiple in 3 weeks. The partner who bought it had been looking for 2 years and had been piped at the post on several occasions by buyers who had more to offer the vendor. This time, he had financing in order, met the vendor within 2 days, conducted due diligence at the practice the week after. Within 2 weeks he had exclusivity on the practice only through signing the heads of terms agreement and all was passed onto the lawyers. The purchaser knew the market and reacted accordingly. He was well positioned, had an acquisition strategy and had unique and attractive proposition that at the end of the day, got the vendors attention over the other interested purchasers. 2 days later we received 2 calls from buyers who had enquired about the practice. They had been called by the practice owner and wanted to know what was slowing things down. Unfortunately the deal had already been done by a more sophisticated, prepared and determined buyer.

Buyers in the London and Home Counties areas are finding the market quite competitive. There is a large number of smaller firms operating in this area and many of them are trying to grow through the acquisition route. Within the London area, Morgan Cox have practices phoning them up on a weekly desperate to acquire. One is willing to front load the first payment to the tune of 70% of the total transaction cost and offer to keep on the vendor in a salaried consultancy role (if requested) just as a sweetener to win over the vendor from other parties. It’s that competitive.
What does the future hold for 2013? Without wanting to break bad news to the many buyers out there that are currently looking, Morgan Cox Accountancy have posted this exact question on their accountancy community board. It would be interesting to see what your predictions are?

Some top tips for those thinking of enquiring an accountancy practice:
  • Have an acquisition strategy including possible locations, type of fees and maximum expenditure for this acquisition
  • Work out what you may be prepared to offer both based on a GRF multiple and also other incentives. Be creative
  • Ask yourself what your unique selling point is? Vendors will currently expect to receive more than 1 offer. Why is your better?
  • Register with the best accountancy practice brokers- Morgan Cox Accountancy comes highly recommended
  • Use social media. Like or follow, the brokers social media. Trends in the market will soon be picked up. You can adjust your strategy immediately based on market changes and alterations in the supply/demand equation
  • Act quickly
  • Be flexible
  • Be nice. Business doesn't need to be stressful. When a vendor was asked why he chose one offer over another his response was "I want to do business with nice people. First impressions count and he was very hospitable when we met".....
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Try the Morgan Cox Accountancy Practice Challenge!

Outcome: An accountant selling her practice lands an additional £80,000

Case Report:
In June this year we received an interesting call from an accountant who was selling her accountancy practice. She was based in the home counties around London and had a good network of fellow accountants whom she approached to float the idea of selling her accountancy practice. Like most vendors who attempt to sell themselves she made quite a few mistakes but in the end she called Morgan Cox Accountancy and ended up landing a cheque for £80,000 more than she anticipated.

She contacted 3 local accounting firms whom she knew and had a reasonable working relationship. Two of these practices did not have the cash flow to pursue her opportunity however one practice was interested. Following a period of due diligence the prospective purchaser made her an offer of £1.1 for every £1 of gross recurring fees which she accepted. Whilst her lawyers were preparing the heads of terms agreement she called Morgan Cox to ask if we thought that this was a fair deal.

We were surprised that she had found a buyer and had gone though the entire process without any legally binding confidentiality agreement! Her prospecitve purchaser had her entire client list including contact details, and she was potentially fully exposed. One hour later the Morgan Cox team had addressed this issue and full legal documentation was obtained from the purchaser.

The vendor was surprised when we told her that it was indeed a sellers market. Our registered database of potential buyers had been growing every day particularly through our free buyer database email registration form on our website. At this point we offered her our challenge. Let us market your practice to our registered buyers to see if we could obtain any more interest on a no obligation basis. If we don't find any interest, then proceed with your current buyer at no cost. It was a no risk proposition and the vendor decided to give us 5 days to see what we could do.

From our 580 active buyers (at the time) we had 9 expressions of interest with 2 firm offers both at the 1.3multiple of GFR. Both had reasonable payment and claw back terms.
4 weeks after contacting us to check that the deal she was being offered the vendor had a new buyer and an additional £80,000.
If you are currently selling your accountancy practice, take the Morgan Cox accountancy challenge today. An easy decision.

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Poor broker advice and lack of legal input costs a vendor 200,000 as demonstrated in this case study:

Some of the Morgan Cox Accountancy team met with our legal colleagues last week to catch up with some of our accountancy clients sales progress and also to share important feedback between the various components of the sales process.

Unfortunately what was shared with us was deeply upsetting so we thought that we would share it with you in order to help learn the lessons and prevent another case like this from happening in the accountancy sales market.

In 2009 an accountancy practice vendor engaged the services of a UK accountancy practice broker (not us) to sell her practice. One of the reasons why the vendor engaged this broker was because they told her that they were experienced in the legal aspects of the sale process and could deal with all legal aspects including the sale and purchase agreement. She was told that this alone could save her up to £6000 in legal fees which she found attractive. She subsequently engaged the service of this broker.

A purchaser was found and the vendor followed the brokers advice and let them deal with the legal aspects fo the sale. A sale and purchase agreement was provided which she duly signed. The agreed purchase price was £400,000 speak over a thirty six month period with 4 equal instalments of £100,000. After 24 months however the third payment was not made. It was disclosed at this point that the purchasing company no longer existed and that the assets had been sold/transferred to a new company (owned by the same directors as the purchasing company). The sale and purchasing agreement was only made with the original company and no warranties to prevent the transfer or sale of the assets had been agreed. This subsequently left the vendor £200,000 out of pocket. The vendor engaged the services of one of our legal providers in an attempt to recoup the outstanding debt which after a period of 12 months proved unsuccessful and resulted in legal costs of £20,000. 

There were two elements that could have prevented this situation from arising, both of which should have been in the original sale and purchase agreement. Firstly there should have been a clause in the contract preventing the sale or transfer of any of the sold assets during the buyout period. Secondly the vendor could have been saved by the presence of a clause where the responsibility for settling the money owned was joint and several between the acquiring company and its directors. This would have enabled the legal team to take action on a personal basis against the directors and their individual assets. This last clause alone would have posed as a deterrent to such practices occurring. It would have served as an avenue to also recoup the money owed.

You may ask why the vendor did not take action against the broker who essentially created this situation by giving advice that could be seen as misleading at best. This avenue was not possible because of the contract of engagement which had been drawn up by a lawyer and which the vendor had signed. In it was a clause whereby the vendor gave up all possible and future claims against the broker.

There are several lessons to be learnt from this case report.
  • Always seek expert advice.Accountancy practice legal mistakes cost money
  • Don't try and save costs by cutting corners.
  • Read the small print on any contract.
  • Do engage the services of a specialist lawyer. They are not cheap, however the above situation could have been prevented had they been engaged.
  • It it sounds too good to be true, it normally is.
  • Get it right the first time as once you have signed any legal contract you are bound by the terms contained within the contract.

Selling your accountancy practice is an important step. You would have spent a lifetime building your practice up and your financial security and retirement could depend on the proceeds of it's sale of the assets and goodwill. Morgan Cox Accountancy are a specialist accountancy broker operating in the UK. We partner with specialist lawyers who only deal with the sale and purchase of accountancy practices. We have negotiated reduced capped rates for legal services and can introduce you to a short list of these specialists to act on your behalf. We will never attempt to act on your behalf in areas where you are better represented by a specialist as the consequences such as the above case report are all too frequent.

To discuss our services please contact us to day or view our current accountancy practices for sale in the UK.


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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • James
    James says #
    Don't cut corners
    I am not surprised by this case report. Why would you sell one of your greatest assets and for the sake of a saving of £4-6K expos

Welcome to the accountancy practice news section distributed by Morgan Cox Accountancy. Due to popular demand our readers and registered users have requested more detailed and up to date information on the accountancy market. Our aim in to produce informative articles that our readers want to know about. Updates in the accountancy practice market will be easier to distribute and users will be able to subscribe to this category to get notifications of new accountancy market news. As one of the UK leaders in the accountancy merger and sales market we hope that this informative resource will continue to demonstrate that we are the UK experts that you will choose to consult. If you are thinking of selling, merging, buying or arranging an accountancy practice valuation then do call for a free no obligation discussion. To view our current listings visit our accountancy practices for sale page.
If you would like to request an article about any accountancy subject or simply want a question answered then drop us an email. We can then incorporate a detailed response which other may also find useful in our next accountancy news section.
Kind regards

The Morgan Cox Accountancy Team

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  • David Jones
    David Jones says #
    Great Idea!
    I have been looking for up to date information on the accountancy sales market. This is a great idea to have real news published d
  • Morgan Cox
    Morgan Cox says #
    Please register to comment
    Please note that in order to leave a commnet of ask a question you will need to login. This is free, takes 2 minutes and can be co
Posted by on in Dental News

Welcome to Morgan Cox Dental News
Following demand we have released the latest news section to our website, specifically aimed at the dental sales market. This way we can release all our exciting updates and publish news on the latest changes in the dental market place.

Morgan Cox Dental are dedicated dental brokers providing expert consultancy and brokerage advice to the UK market. We offer dental practice valuations, dental practice marketing and can broker the sale of your dental practice. Feel free to contact us for a free no obligation discussion about our services and how we might be able to help you.

If you want to comment or ask a question regarding any of our articles then please register on the site (free) and post your comments. A member of our team can then respond in more detail. Alternatively view our dental practices for sale listings

Kind regards

Morgan Cox Dental Team.

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