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More “under new management” signs in NZ over next two years

11 April 2014

More “under new management” signs in New Zealand over the next two years

More businesses in New Zealand than any other country in the world, apart from Finland, are anticipating a change of ownership in the next two years.

The latest Grant Thornton International Business Report, which surveys 12,500 business leaders in 45 economies, shows that 27% of New Zealand businesses anticipate a change of ownership by 2016 - more than double the global average of 11%. Only Finland ranked higher than New Zealand at 33%.

Grant Thornton New Zealand’s Head of Lead Advisory, Martin Gray, says the findings reflect growing confidence in New Zealand in a post Global Financial Crisis era.

“New Zealand has had a couple of good years in terms of growth; there have been some good corporate performances,we’ve witnessed a strong performance from the New Zealand stock market and a significant lift in the number of IPO’s,” says Gray.

“The New Zealand economy had a strong, early exit out of the GFC. We are well ahead of Australia and a lot of our major trading partners.

“This environment is contributing to renewed confidence, and owners sense that their businesses will achieve higher valuations than any time since 2007.”

The report shows 29% of the New Zealand businesses expecting a change of ownership in the next two years are anticipating management to be involved in the acquisition. This is up from 24% in 2012.

“What we see happening is private equity is available to support management buy-outs and management buy-ins. Trade buyers have been prominent in the GFC looking to acquire market share in a depressed environment where some businesses have struggled. The level of distressed sales has abated.

“Trade buyers are still active. These buyers are likely to be dynamic companies looking at strategic acquisitions for growth, rather than the relatively opportunistic approach of recent years. The survey results reveal that globally 55% of dynamic businesses plan to grow through acquisition, compared to 31% of all businesses.

“Bank liquidity is high and funding readily available to both private equity backed management teams and trade buyers for well thought out acquisitions.”

Gray says business owners in the baby boomer generation, who are at or nearing retirement age, will be more inclined to sell as the value of their business increases.

“The next couple of years will be a good time for a baby boomer to exit their business.”

The full IBR 2014 M&A report is available here:

The Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) provides insight into the views and expectations of more than 12,500 businesses per year across 45 economies. This unique survey draws upon 22 years of trend data for mostEuropean participants and 11 years for many non-European economies. For more information, please visit:

Data collection is managed by Grant Thornton’s core research partner, Experian. Questionnaires are translated into local languages with each participating country having the option to ask a small number of country specific questions in addition to the core questionnaire. Fieldwork is undertaken on a quarterly basis. The research is carried out primarily by telephone.

IBR is a survey of both listed and privately held businesses. The data for this release are drawn from interviews with more than 12,500 chief executive officers, managing directors, chairmen or other senior executives from all industry sectors conducted between January and December 2013.


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