References and tombstones
Our clients often choose to keep our work confidential when we advise them on governance issues or conflict resolution. However, when we successfully complete a transaction for our clients, they often allow us to publish it. Their experiences with our services during the transaction process can be found on this page.
The video below describes one of our clients’ experience with our guidance during the sale process of his company (video is in Dutch).
A selection of reviews of some of our successful transactions can be found below. All of these transactions were advised by (one of) the partners of Clifton Finance.
ICE Utility Professionals joins Value8’s interim professionals. A careful and intensive process preceded this, partly prompted by the corona crisis. The sales process was actually initiated as soon as there was a prospect of market recovery. Due to the rapid market recovery, it was important to map out the company thoroughly, so that the eventual buyer could assess the company according to its future value.
ICE was looking for an investor who could take the company to the next phase and also further invest in the company’s scale. Value8, with investments in similar services, was a good fit and could add value to the company.
Together with ICE’s DGA, Marcel van Staa, Clifton Finance got the job done and managed to convincingly present the company to potential buyers. Marcel: “You have to prepare well for something like this and timing is essential. In the end, thanks to Clifton Finance’s good connections with Value8, we found a party that matches ICE very well and can get the full potential out of it, while I will still be involved in the coming years.” “The role of Clifton Finance really helped in this” also says Peter Paul de Vries, foreman of Value8. The personal approach characterized this transaction and was appreciated by all parties.
Unique family business of unique entrepreneurs finds partner in investor
Rabobank Group, through its investment arm Rabo Investments (RI), has become a co-shareholder in Koppert Cress Group. By taking a minority stake in Koppert Cress, a course is set for further joint sustainable international growth.
Clifton Finance has brought the two parties together. Even before Covid-19, Koppert Cress was looking for a Dutch partner with an international position. In the transaction it was important to maintain the mission and vision of the original (family) owners. Rabo Investments and Koppert Cress found each other as partners with a similar vision on horticulture, healthy food and sustainability. The strength and resources of Rabo Investments will give Koppert Cress the room to continue its further growth.
Thijs Friederich, managing director of Rabo Investments: “Koppert Cress is a beautiful and resilient horticultural company. The company has held up well in the recent corona crisis, while the hospitality industry, their largest market, was largely closed. By being close to its end customers, the chefs, Koppert Cress has built a relationship that results in flexibility, originality with a focus on taste and surprise on the plate. Sustainability and innovation is something we as Rabo Investments are happy to support.”
Clifton Finance acted as advisor to the buyer.
Company brought into safe harbor after long voyage
Struik & Hamerslag is a family business with a long history. They operate in the top segment of interior construction of luxury yachts, a segment in which the Netherlands excels. Triggered by the approach of Chinese buyers, the search started for a suitable buyer for this complex enterprise. The company delivers highly appealing interiors in a project market with higher than normal risk. The DGA Marco Struik, who was no longer involved in the day-to-day business, gave great confidence in the management and Clifton Finance for finding a suitable buyer who was also willing to roll up his sleeves to make the necessary changes in this traditional company. This was preceded by changes to the company’s structure and the closure of its international operations in the UK. The final buyer was found in SecondWind Capital, which took up the challenge very professionally and realized the transaction together with other stakeholders. This puts the Struik & Hamerslag in safe harbor and allows building on the further growth of the company.
“Together with Clifton Finance, we went through the entire process from preparation to completion and in doing so, I experienced the integrity and thoroughness of Maarten and his team as very professional. In the always complex environment of a family business with multiple shareholders, good communication is important and I can’t help but conclude that we couldn’t have found a better partner. We are therefore very pleased that we were able to conclude the process positively.”
Marco Struik, Kitty Kuiper & Sjef Laenen, 2021
Patience is a virtue
After working in cleaning for almost 40 years, the DGA was eager to hand over the business. Together with his spouse Brigitta and several loyal employees, he built up a reliable company. There was great interest in the market for the company, which had a nice customer base. “We explicitly looked for a buyer who would fit well with the culture of the company and found it in the Balans Group,” says Eric van Gijn. “Clifton Finance helped us well in the selection of the final buyer and they provided good insight into what profits the new owner could realize with the company. I experienced the cooperation with Clifton Finance as very pleasant. We were advised clearly and clearly. My questions were answered with great patience and Clifton Finance helped ensure that the sale of our beautiful company BERKO Schoonmaakdiensten B.V. went smoothly. We can recommend Clifton Finance to anyone looking to sell their business. Reliable, clear, professional and very fast and good communication.”
“Although I was impatient and there was a lot more involved than I thought, the transaction was completed well and I am now a free man. Without their help I could not have done it!”
Eric and Brigitta van Gijn, 2021
Pieter Schoen steps into fashion industry with acquisition of Apptitude (Colect)
Shoe Investments, the investment company of Rotterdam-based entrepreneur and investor Pieter Schoen, is investing in Laren-based software developer Colect. This very fast-growing software company specializes in digitizing the fashion industry.
Fashion brands and retailers see their market rapidly digitizing. “The far-reaching digitalization enables the industry to increase resale speed, optimize prices and stock levels, get more and faster insight into own stock and collection,” Arthur Hoffman said. Nick Andriesse: “This will allow the fashion industry to better respond to the needs of consumers, who are changing ever faster and becoming more demanding.”
The growth money from Shoe Investments and the expansion of the management team will enable the company to accelerate innovation, product development and international rollout in markets such as Germany, Scandinavia and Britain. France and Italy are also high on the wish list.
Investor and entrepreneur Pieter Schoen sees enormous potential: “We are deeply impressed by the business Nick and his team have built so far and we are convinced we can help them accelerate growth in the coming years.”
Acquisition Ergomax by Nutramin
Started in 2007 from the garage, shareholders Paul Zonneveld and Samuel Zonneveld have developed the company into an online retailer of food supplements in the higher segment. In addition to the Netherlands, Ergomax is now also a growing player in key markets such as Germany, Scandinavia and the US. Both founders are ready for a new step for the company and have asked Clifton Finance to assist them in this process. The buyer is a group of companies with the labels Dr van der Hoog, Nutramin, Lavisage and Plantina. The two brothers will continue to play a different role in the expansion of both Ergomax and the other companies in the group.
We have been very well assisted in the sales process by Clifton Finance,’ say Paul and Samuel. ‘They have provided a very good fitting buyer and have taken us through the process into what was completely new for both of us. We had fast and good communication with Clifton Finance. What’s especially nice is that they were fully prepared for any ‘bumps’ in the process. The team is attuned to each other, they are solution-oriented. We were able to keep the business going well while at the same time staying well informed about the course of the sales process’.
Paul & Samuel Zonnveld, 2020
The shareholder of De Klok Logistics from Nijmegen takes over subsidiary Van Opzeeland from its neighbor Nabuurs
In addition to De Klok Logistics, the shareholder also owns Van Vliet Transport. As a result of this takeover the parties involved are bundling their nationwide network mainly in the segment of urban distribution of goods to, for example, retailers. The bundling of transported volumes creates a more efficient network. The deal offers Nabuurs the opportunity to bring more strategic focus to its other logistics activities. Clifton Finance has assisted the family business Nabuurs in finding the right buyer, and in the execution and realization of the transaction.
Christian Guillou, general manager and shareholder of Briconord
“Clifton Finance has helped us to identify Mac-Lean as the ideal add-on candidate for Briconord in the Netherlands and to realize this, for us, important transaction. Briconord is a supplier of home furnishing products and paneling accessories from the French cognac region. With the acquisition of Mac-Lean, Briconord has taken the first step to become a European market leader in home furnishings and accessories. Shareholders Amundi PEF and Société Générale Capital Partenaires support Briconord financially with this acquisition strategy. Mac-Lean, in Moerdijk, specializes in floors, safety and decoration products and is mainly active on the Dutch and Belgian market. “It was pleasant to work with Ruud van Hoek from Clifton Finance. His negotiating skills and positive fundamentals have certainly helped make the transaction a reality”. Continue reading..
Christian Guillou, 2019
Pieter Vroegop, director of the Earlyop family business
“Clifton Finance guided us in the search and assisted in decision-making within the family business.” In the search of Natudis, Kroon and Hagor in Belgium for a cooperation partner, many discussions have taken place with various parties. Ultimately, the choice fell on Udea. This combination of companies and the resulting economies of scale provide the most benefit to the industry. Of course, such a choice is sensitive in the organization and with the selling parent company VRC. But this brings together the companies that were created at the time from parts of Wessanen.
Philip de Groot, Owner and director of Oogwereld
Oogwereld has found a new partner and shareholder in AAC Capital with the help of Clifton Finance. AAC Capital is an investment company that supports successful entrepreneurs and management teams in the accelerated realization of international growth ambitions.
In addition to AAC Capital, the management of Oogwereld is also involved as a shareholder. The partnership with AAC enables Oogwereld to continue to act as a logical consolidator in the market for independent opticians in the coming years. Furthermore, Oogwereld will continue to distinguish itself through premium eye care, an exclusive range, and excellent service for all its customers.
“Gonneke and Maarten have guided me through this transaction with their experience and market knowledge. A process that you as an entrepreneur do not have to deal with on a daily basis. Through good preparation and focus during the process, we have found the right partner to support Oogwereld in its further growth. For me as an entrepreneur, it was important that careful attention was paid to my preconditions for the transaction and that these wishes were professionally incorporated in the negotiations and the final deal structure. It was important for me to realize a transaction with added value for the company, my people and for me personally. I think Clifton Finance has been very successful in this”.
Reiny, Sybo and Sjaak Smeding, shareholders of O. Smeding en Zoon B.V.
“Maarten helped us with the transfer of our Frisian family business and handled the necessary steps both professionally and personally. He bridged the gap between the family and the external shareholder Sligro, where some of the interests diverged. He created support in the company and all the shareholders, and has a knack for relations between the different bodies. Next to guiding the process he provided a good financial value-analysis and a method for transferring shares between family members. Eventually establishing a ‘future proof’ governance with room for the family and next generations.”
Reiny, Sybo and Sjaak Smeding, 2017
Wijnand van den Haak, CEO Abama
“Clifton Finance has assisted us excellently with this international transaction. I came across many new situations during the transaction where I lacked the necessary experience. Maarten Vijverberg’s personal advise gave me peace of mind and the ability to set aside my impatience, which is often part of being an entrepreneur. This transaction would have never happened without his efforts. Maarten explained and included our family in a correct manner. He kept close contact with the buyer, regardless of the processes in the transaction.”
Wijnand van den Haak, 2016
Marco de Wit, Sector Director Imbema mobility
Imbema Rhiwa has acquired SBS Security & Safety Products. Clifton Finance has assisted Imbema in the acquisition process. An acquisition strategy has been developed for the Imbema Rhiwa unit, whereby the markets in which Imbema Rhiwa operates have been mapped. On the basis of this analysis, a choice was made for the best acquisition direction and an extensive list of takeover candidates was drawn up.
SBS from Zoetermeer is the market leader in the field of mechanical and electronic security solutions for commercial vehicles. The acquisition of SBS perfectly embodies the acquisition strategy in order to position Imbema Rhiwa more widely as a supplier of transport solutions aimed at higher efficiency and a higher degree of safety.
“Clifton Finance has helped us in a detailed way in defining our acquisition strategy. This made it easy to substantiate the choice for SBS and the acquisition process could be completed quickly.”
Marco de Wit, 2016
Stefan Heeger & Bart-Jan van Til, Shareholders Geschenkbezorgen
“For us as entrepreneurs, selling a company is not a daily occurrence. We had not realized beforehand that the sale of our company would involve so many aspects. Gonneke helped us through this process professionally, so that during the process we remained confident that the sale would be realized at the right price and conditions. It was very pleasant that Gonneke also had an eye for our personal interests and positions in this process, and that this was taken into account in addition to the financial aspects”.
Stefan Heeger & Bart-Jan van Til, October 30, 2015
Guido Raaijmakers, shareholder 4launch
4Launch has been an official part of Infotheek Groep BV since 10 October 2015. As advisor to the seller, Gonneke van der Lee was involved in the process whereby Infotheek took over the shares of 4launch in full.
“I founded 4Launch in 2003 as a web store for (computer) electronics, Guido Raaijmakers explains. In a short time, my company grew into one of the larger webshops in the Netherlands (top 30 listing in Twinkle). When the sale of my company came into the picture, I needed an expert and reliable advisor. I certainly found this in Gonneke. Especially when you sell to a larger company, as a DGA you need a sounding board, someone who has a lot of transaction experience and can translate financial knowledge to your personal situation. In Gonneke I found a high-level sparring partner who guided me through the entire process with great dedication, knowledge and enthusiasm. During the sales process, many new things come at you. Gonneke managed this process for me, which gave me as an entrepreneur certainty and confidence in a positive outcome of the transaction. Thanks to Infotheek’s investments in 4Launch after the takeover, 4launch is now growing at an accelerated pace. So the sale was successful both for me personally and for the company”.
Guido Raaijmakers, 2015
Theo Dorresteijn and Jan Dorresteijn, Shareholders Realworks
Clifton Finance was involved in the process whereby the NVM fully took over the shares of Realworks.
“Maarten guided me and my brother, both Realworks DGA’s, in this complex process. He characterized himself as a bridge builder to the negotiating parties throughout the entire process, not losing sight of the end goal. With a small and agile team it was possible to switch quickly and with short lines. We thank Maarten for the guidance in the process where many consultants on the side of the buyer were involved. Especially if we consider that the takeover was much more complex for an organization of our size, because of the shareholder structure. Maarten guided us towards the intended goal and was even able to make better agreements here and there”.
Theo Dorresteijn, June 1, 2015
Peter S. Breuer, CEO of Royal Capi lux
“I got to know Maarten during the sale of my family business. His personal and professional input was of great value both in the preparatory phase and in supporting the process. Maarten knows how to handle family and family interests with integrity. The sale of shares in Koninklijke Capi-Lux was successfully completed”.
Henrik Rom, Chief Financial Officer Kamstrup A/S, Danmark
“Maarten advised us on the divestment of our Dutch gas assets. He has and his dedicated team of professionals who truly made the difference in obtaining maximum result.”
Koen Slippens, Chairman / CEO Sligro Food Group Nederland BV
Director STAK of Victoria / Van Heeswijk. “Maarten Vijverberg’s team delivered an excellent performance. They completed the project successfully in a short time with a tightly managed process. They have involved all stakeholders (shareholders, family, management and RvT) in the right way and cleverly brought the various interests together. Despite the market transparency, confidentiality has been preserved to the end”.
“Although the company has a long successful history, the size of the supermarket chain was too small to independently occupy a strong position in the consolidating market. After the family made the decision to sell the company, a quick and adequate process was initiated. It was decided to sell to Sligro, which is a strong and professional company with a family character”.
Heleen van Gulik, General Manager of King Cuisine
“The sale of the company was obvious because of follow-up problems and strategic aspects. Maarten has professionally guided the sales process with fabulous dexterity. The interests of the DGA as well as the management and the company are well balanced in this respect. The process was brought to a good end result with great precision and the sale to an international buyer was carried out in a pleasant, knowledgeable manner”.