Frequently Asked Questions
Does BGF only focus on one or two high growth sectors?
No. We will consider all sectors apart from regulated financial services and property. We are most interested in sectors that have significant long-term potential for growth.
However, we will also support businesses with strong credentials in other sectors. We will judge each company on its individual merits. For us, long-term potential is the key.
Will BGF consider investing in partnership with other investors, for example an existing business angel?
Yes. We will happily co-invest alongside other investors where that is what the current owners want and it benefits the business. We hope to significantly expand the scale of equity finance available to UK SMEs.
How will BGF exit a deal?
We will discuss and agree upfront exit terms that are in the best interests of the business. Typically all shareholders will exit together. This could be to new and larger investors for the next growth phase, preparing investee companies to float, or a full sale.
As we invest off our own balance sheet we take a long term view and are happy to be a long term investor. However, we do expect a return on our investment eventually! Any exit will be discussed and with the full agreement of the management team, and only on terms that are in the best interests of the business. Typically all shareholders will exit together. This could be to new and larger investors for the next growth phase, preparing investee companies to float, or a full sale. We will also discuss and agree what type of dividend policy makes sense for the business and shareholders over the longer term.
Why sell a share of your company to BGF? Why not just get a bank loan?
A bank loan will not give your company access to the expertise, contacts and guidance that the BGF can offer. We can boost ambitious management teams and help them achieve more by offering three key ingredients for success: substantial capital, superb contacts and sound counsel. Debt should be part of a company’s financial structure but not to the extent where there is excessive leverage and the company is undercapitalised.
Will BGF take over the running of your company?
No. We want an active partnership with management and owners who don’t want to lose control of their business. As a partner we will offer expert guidance on financing for growth, creating appropriate capital structures, raising additional capital for acquisitions, and longer term strategic and commercial objectives.
What rate of return does BGF expect to make on its investments?
The BGF is a commercial investor, building a portfolio of high growth companies for the future. We are not subsidised in any way and aim to generate good returns through long-term capital appreciation. The rate of return will vary depending on each investment.
We are keen to work with ambitious and entrepreneurial owners and will try to reflect that in our initial valuations. Our long-term perspective is proving very attractive to a lot of smaller companies.
Why doesn’t BGF invest in start-ups?
There are already other sources of finance available for start-ups and very small companies. We specialise in supporting more established but growing smaller and medium-sized companies which can benefit from working with an institutional investor. These companies have traditionally suffered an equity gap in terms of the long-term financing options available to them.
Does the BGF offer loans and debt finance as well as equity investments?
No. The BGF is strictly an equity investment company. Our shareholder banks offer a range of business loans.
Will the banks decide which companies BGF should invest in?
No. Representatives from each of our five shareholder banks sit on the BGF’s Board along with our Chairman, CEO and four independent Non-Executive Directors. The Board does not take individual investment decisions, this is done by the CEO and our investment committee.
Will the BGF offer mezzanine finance?
No. However, we can structure our investments flexibly, providing a mixture of preference shares or subordinated loan stock if the investee company prefers and it is suitable for the business.
Is BGF a private equity company?
No. BGF is not a private equity (PE) firm, which typically focus on buyouts. We invest off our own balance sheet and have a conservative approach to debt. We invest over a longer term and take a minority equity stake in our investee companies, rather than going for outright control.
Who owns BGF?
BGF is owned by its shareholder banks: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and Standard Chartered. Together they have committed a total fund of up to £2.5 billion, making BGF the largest long-term equity investment company in the UK.
Is BGF a government fund?
No. BGF is completely independent of Government.
Can a BGF investment be used to fund an acquisition?
Yes. Growth through acquisition was the foundation of many of today’s most successful large companies. Done well by carefully understanding the different risks, acquisition can be one of the most effective ways to expand a business. Strategies can take a number of different forms, from taking market share through acquiring a direct competitor, to buying related or complimentary companies to open up new product lines or new distribution channels, or increasing the company’s footprint by purchasing another company in the same industry but in a different geographic area. Few major companies have grown to where they are today without acquiring at least a few companies along the way, and BGF will back acquisitions where they are part of a sustainable growth strategy.