Advice from Irish Entrepreneurs on Selling a Business: Denise Browne - Label Craft


Three entrepreneurs reflected on their own business journeys to share the inside track and key learnings from selling their business: Karen Malone (FCCA), Global CEO and Co-Founder of Centaur Fund Services, James McGann, Co-Founder at Frankie Health, Denise Browne, Co-Founder at Label Craft.

Here is Denise Browne’s advice:

Denise Browne, a co-founder of Label Craft built a labelling company in a specialised niche in pharma labelling that required FDA approval. They sold to Asteria Group, a leading international manufacturer of label solutions.

I was really emotional about it because I've been in the business for so long, it was like letting go of a child.  It’s been like 25, 30 years and I've worked very hard.  When you sign the paper, a Share Purchase Agreement (“SPA”) - I hadn’t told family the business was sold, so we emailed this SPA to all our family and friends to say this is what we’ve done.  I then just burst into tears, it topsy turvy for a while, you're stressed one minute fine the next, it’s just a roller coaster, but totally worth it.

One of the worst things was telling the staff and the customers

We have been working together for so long and I was very close to them so I felt I was lying to them, because for confidentiality reasons we couldn’t tell anyone. People were totally supportive and we had looked after people. We wouldn’t have sold to anyone if there was a risk of jobs.

My business partner and I are  still working in the business for a period of time.  So I’m still working for two companies now, the team here and Asteria Group is based in Belgium and I really like them. 

Has life changed? The only thing is the decisions are not yours anymore

It’s good in one sense you don't have to worry about financials but in the printing business you have to reinvest in machinery, that was one of one of the key decisions that we made that Asteria would reinvest so in that respect it’s much easier.

Nuggets of advice I’d pass on…

I would always try to have multiple buyers. It’s like buying a house, it’s like selling a house, if you have two buyers you’ll do better and Key Capital were able to deliver that for us.

Also, if you are even thinking of selling you have to start now, start to document everything from staff issues to contracts, they all have to be up-to-date and those are the things that are so important, leases, property.  It takes the pain away.

"If you are even thinking of selling, you have to start now. Start to document everything from staff issues to contracts; they all have to be up-to-date. It takes the pain away."
Denise Browne, Co-Founder at Label Craft.

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