2016 – Business Exit

In late 2014 I had started some high-level discussions with Central Innovation (the Australian ArchiCAD Distributors) about a potential sale of Cadimage. As with the Cadconsult story, the timing wasn’t really right and so these discussions didn’t go very far.

In early 2016 I got contacted to see if there might be potential to reopen the conversation. At one level we were definitely interested but on the other hand business going well and we had some other changes in the pipeline that needed our focus. We didn’t want to be consumed with negotiations that ultimately went nowhere so we proposed a price and said that they’d need to confirm they could make an acquisition at that price (so long as it stacked up of course). Quite quickly they came back and agreed that if everything showed value to that level that they would be able to execute.

We then got dug in and thrashed out a Heads of Agreement and started providing the detail required.

All told it was a little over 5 months from initial interest to the signing of the Sale and Purchase Agreement (and about 25 other documents). We had very organised records which enabled due diligence to be performed to a high level in a very short space of time. Their accountant set aside 2 days to sit with me to do a review of our accounts and test a number of processes, review audit trails behind transactions etc. In less then 3 hours we had completed everything to a level beyond his expectations. Xero was an enormous asset but also because it was integrated with our [in house developed] CRM linking the entire trail from GRAPHISOFT to customer.

All parties wanted to make the transaction happen though that isn’t to say it was always an easy process with a number of intense conversations and negotiations. As with our earlier experiences acquiring businesses, I need to constantly ask myself and my directors ‘does this feel right’ and this proved a useful benchmark when all the final ins and outs around the price and process were being figured out.

We worked hard (and our lawyers and accountants even harder) to make it happen by the 1st July, but in the end, we would have had to push too hard, so we moved settlement to August 1st.

In the end this timing was perfect as it allowed me to signoff during our nationwide ArchiCAD 20 Launch. We hadn’t done a launch since the GFC, however, we had finally managed to get a New Zealand Building as the ArchiCAD signature building. 

It was a fitting culmination of my 20 years at Cadimage to sign off with ArchiCAD 20.

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