It’s been 5 months since saas.group acquired Beekast, an online platform that helps you create, lead, and track your meetings and training sessions. Today we’re talking with Yassine Chabli to learn more about the overall experience and get down to the details that helped make this process easier.
Let’s start from the beginning. How did you determine it was the right time to sell?
The decision to sell really stemmed from a combination of factors. We had long-standing shareholders seeking liquidity, and there was a sense that joining forces with a larger company would provide the resources needed for growth. It was a confluence of factors that made the timing feel right.
It can sometimes be challenging to align all shareholders or associates when considering a sale. How did you handle that?
That was a tricky part of the process. And if you don’t have any shareholders, you may skip this step. For us, it was crucial to make a concerted effort to ensure everyone was on the same page before initiating the sale.
Open and transparent communication was key. It’s important that everyone understands the reasons and benefits of the sale, so we made sure to address any concerns and get a consensus among stakeholders.
Valuation is often a critical aspect of any deal. How did you approach the value estimation of Beekast?
Valuation is a crucial step. We leveraged various resources, including industry blogs that provide turnover and EBITDA multiples. Additionally, we looked at the valuation of publicly traded companies. Fundraising valuations tend to be on the higher side, so we focused on more realistic indicators. We also consulted with investment banks to get their perspective, which was immensely helpful. They do it for free, too, so the only thing we needed was time.
We talk a lot about the importance of aligning your values with the potential acquirer. How did you identify saas.group as the ideal buyer?
I stumbled upon Dirk Sahlmer’s posts on LinkedIn, and what he was talking about spoke to me. Very down to earth, no fluff kind of content. I knew I had to reach out. In a way, it was very easy for me. I knew that we wanted a streamlined process; we wanted to work with a team of experts who have experience taking SaaS companies to the next level, and we immediately saw the value that saas.group could bring. It felt a bit serendipitous.
How did you prepare your sales pitch?
We created an “investment memo” or IM, in the M&A world. It highlighted our strengths as a company and emphasized potential synergies that could benefit the buyer. We really treated it as a sales brochure because we wanted to sell our business and knew that we had to show how exciting it could be for the buyer.
saas.group was not the only potential buyer. How did the pitching go? Anything unexpected during the process?
We did meet with numerous potential buyers. It’s important to remember that not everyone you meet will have serious intentions, and some may even have ulterior motives. However, within this mix, you can find your future buyer. I definitely recommend being patient, taking your time for due diligence for every potential buyer, and keeping your priorities straight.
Once you received initial offers, what steps did you take?
Initial offers are when things start getting serious. Interested buyers will send you Letters of Intent (LOIs) containing valuations and conditions. At this stage, you definitely want to contact legal counsel to make sure you understand all the legal lingo and terms. That was exactly what we did, and it was a game-changer.
Due diligence is often portrayed as a difficult and confusing process. How did it go for you?
Due diligence is a deep dive into your company’s operations. In our case, the process took about eight weeks. The entire process went extremely smoothly thanks to the efficiency of Pavel Prokofiev, ACA, and the M&A team. You have a lot of discussions and should be prepared to put all the information on the table to be accessed. The earlier you identify the weak points, the easier it’ll be for the acquirer to see how to work around them and what resources you’ll need to take it to the next level. I’d say it’s nothing to be afraid of. Just make sure you’re ready for an honest conversation.
Can you share some of the legal aspects that took place for the sale?
Once due diligence was successfully completed, negotiations shifted towards the legal side of things. The Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) is the core document, outlining the terms and conditions of the sale. It’s typically accompanied by a Guarantee of Assets and Liabilities (GAP). This is again the stage where you’d need legal counsel. I’d definitely recommend getting one just to be sure that all the terms are well-defined and there’s nothing confusing for you at that stage.
Could you share your experiences with post-merger integration?
We’re currently in the final stages of the onboarding process. And we have a dedicated onboarding manager, Lewis Singleton, who ensured a really smooth transition. I think post-merger integration is crucial for the success of the whole deal.
In our case, saas.group had acquired 14 companies before us and has a well-structured onboarding process. During this phase, we doubled down on aligning strategy and values, closely collaborated with the Central team, and discussed the tools we’d be using for further growth. Another highlight was actually meeting the entire company in Barcelona for the annual retreat. It gave us another opportunity to see that we made the right choice. The overall experience of meeting the teams and the founders who are staying with saas.group was incredible, and we really felt welcome.
If I had to do this again, I don’t think I’d change anything in the process. As I mentioned, it was smooth and fast, and we received all the support we needed. If you’re thinking about selling your SaaS, I recommend checking out saas.group content and engaging with the events they host. If you want to talk more about my experience selling Beekast, reach out to me directly on LinkedIn or go straight to Dirk Sahlmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pavel Prokofiev at email@example.com to discuss your options.