Secret Seller episode 9 – Completion

In episode nine of our Secret Seller series, our seller describes perhaps the most exciting part of the process – the completion.

If you haven’t read last month’s entry in our secret seller series on telling the team, be sure to check it out.

When it came to setting a completion date, as with many important occasions, there was some movement. One date came and went, then another, and then suddenly it was set for the following Monday – this was going to be it!

I’d heard the Sales Purchase Agreement (SPA) had been agreed upon by lawyers on both sides and, as far as I was aware, all the due diligence was done.

The following Monday was set as the day of completion. However, as Monday crawled by, the phone call came with news that it looked like completion “slip” into Tuesday.

Then, on Tuesday we were hit with a bombshell: the buyer’s solicitors hadn’t written an SPA for our self-employed consultant. You might think this would be an easy enough task as it could be a duplicate of ours, but the two SPAs needed to be interlinked, so work was needed on both.

It was frustrating as I had been discussing the self-employed consultant SPA with my solicitors from day one, but everyone worked hard to get everything changed and sorted.

Tuesday “slipped” into Wednesday and Wednesday “slipped” into Thursday.

On Thursday, we were set for a late-night completion. At 11 pm, I put on my slippers and went to bed without hearing anything, and so we numbingly slipped into Friday.

Behind the scenes, a close family member had died, and the funeral was the following Tuesday. The day after that we were booked to go on holiday.

My computer had also passed away during the week, and the office internet had crashed – a problem which the broadband provider blamed on everyone but themselves, before finally accepting responsibility.

So, when last-minute due diligence enquiries – not remotely related to the SPA for the self-employed consultant – unexpectedly came in, I might not have been quite my usual fluffy self.

On Friday at 5 pm, we electronically signed a selection of legal papers. But then our solicitor found another issue. When he contacted the buyers, everyone had gone home apart from a junior who felt supremely uncomfortable making the change.

There was a flurry of toing and froing – a senior partner from the buyer’s solicitors was dragged out of a children’s birthday party. Yet still, the result was – yep, you’ve guessed it – we slipped into Monday.

During this week the finance director and integration director of the buyer were in my office for a day each. I handed over everything they could possibly ever need to know about running the company and set up access so they could oversee the administration team’s work.

Things were getting tight, and I didn’t want my team to be unsupported and unmanaged when I wasn’t there.

I should add that Brian was there for the whole hellish week – making calls, chasing and nudging people, checking that I was okay, and being reassuring!

When Monday came around, I received a request for a set of management accounts – I just said no. Funnily enough, we still managed, eventually, to complete that Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday, at the wake of the close family member, I was chasing for our payment. The buyer’s solicitor still hadn’t sent it to our solicitors. Then, to my relief, the money was in the bank at 4pm.

I was bombarded with congratulatory messages asking if I was popping open the champagne, but I just felt numb.

The end of Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer came to mind. In this passage, the author describes how he felt as he stood on the summit of Mount Everest:

“I understood on some dim, detached level that the sweep of earth beneath my feet was a spectacular sight. I’d been fantasising about this moment, and the release of emotion that would accompany it for many months. But now that I was finally here, actually standing on the summit of Mount Everest, I just couldn’t summon the energy to care.”

Get in touch

If there are aspects of selling your business that you are worried about, working with an experienced team like Melo can help. We’ve stood beside many business owners as they undertake the exciting and sometimes difficult steps towards exiting their businesses. To find out how we can help you, email or call 0113 4656 111.


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