Sale of rtw to AS Aufzüge: "I don't want to sell to a large company."

In spring 2020, Thomas Grüebler found the ideal buyer for his business with the help of Business Broker AG and thereby arranged his succession. Together with him, we look back at the selling process and the decision-making, which was not quite so clear-cut as he had originally expected.

Thomas Grüebler's former business, rtw-Aufzugstechnik AG, specialises in the maintenance, modernisation and repair of lift systems. After many years of running the business independently, Mr Grüebler wanted to retire and therefore started to think about his succession. His daughter, who works in the financial sector, was not interested in taking it over and lacked the necessary expertise. Also, it seemed that no suitable solution would be found within the company in the near future. Conscious that there was no particular time pressure and with the desire to achieve the best possible succession arrangement for his customers, the then 58-year-old asked Business Broker AG to sell the company.

I don't want to sell to a large company.

Grüebler was clear about one thing from the outset: "I don't want to sell to a large company. My customers are used to working with a small company". Subject to this precondition, marketing began in December 2019 with the creation of a list of potential buyers, and these were approached in the first step. However, the responses were not very promising and Grüebler became aware that small companies and private individuals in the field of lift technology lacked the financial resources and also the experience for the sustainable implementation of such an acquisition and subsequent integration. "It would have probably have turned into more of an experiment", explained Grüebler.

At almost the same time, AS Aufzüge AG became interested in the attractive rtw AG. Even though Grüebler was sceptical at first, an initial meeting took place shortly thereafter. Once it was established that there was interest on both sides in continuing discussions, the foundation had been laid for negotiations to take place. Even the coronavirus did not prevent the two parties from agreeing on a final version of the contract – so everything seemed to have been settled at this stage.

Shortly before the contract was due to be signed, however, a medium-sized company from the sector got in touch and declared that it was very interested in acquiring rtw AG. As Grüebler had already stated that his aim was to find the best solution not only for himself but also for his customers, he was prepared to enter into negotiations with this prospective buyer. In the end, however, Grüebler felt that the total package negotiated with AS Aufzüge AG was very good, so he decided to conclude the transaction with AS.

Several months have now passed and the familiarisation with the business of a new employee is in full swing. Thomas Grüebler found the transfer "very professional and tidy" in his own words. In AS, he is pleased to have found a buyer which will continue running the business in line with his wishes. "AS unites numerous medium-sized lift companies under one umbrella. I sense that we are pulling in the same direction and have the same goal: satisfied customers. That is why I can give it my full support", commented Grüebler.

We have the same goal: satisfied customers.

You can read about how the buyer experienced the selling process in our Interview with Kurt Kaufmann, M&A Manager at AS.


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