The UK National Directory of Business Brokers
& Other Transaction Agents
All of the below firms act as agents for selling & buying businesses. We are your guide to the industry.
Business Transfer Agents
Business Sale Agents
Corporate Finance Firms
Commercial Real Estate Agents
Equity Capital Market Advisers
Transaction Advisory Firms
Which is the right agent to sell your business?
(Generally sub £2m in turnover / enterprise value)
(Generally £2m - £50m in turnover / enterprise value)
Full range of professionals who sell or assist / advise on the sale of businesses
Business Transfer Agents & Business Brokers
Firms that handle "Main Street" businesses (smaller businesses) often call themselves Business Transfer Agents, Business Sales Agents or Business Brokers. They do not need to be registered and there is no one regulatory body covering what they do. Anybody can start a broking company with no prior experience or qualifications.
Our organisation, iTABB, was created to monitor standards in the industry, set a code of conduct and create a voluntary registration scheme.
Transfer agents and brokers, unlike corporate finance firms etc discussed below, tend to take a business on only at the point where the owners wish to sell. Most don't offer a longer term exit preparation service or a 3 year / 5 year "grooming" service prior to going to market.
We offer a free service to help you find the right agent/broker to sell or buy a business.
Related: Our directory of other exit planning services >>
We recommend that business owners also appoint the right lawyer.
Our directory of firms who may be no longer offering their service >>
Agents selling the smaller businesses:
Corporate Finance Firms, M&A Firms & Transaction Advisers
There is no clear distinction between earlier brokers and these. But firms in this category often have staff qualified in accountancy, valuation, tax, corporate finance and / or corporate law. Sometimes their main business is accountancy or wealth management. "Business disposal" is ancillary to their core offering.
Firms in this category tend to take on only larger businesses. How they define "larger" varies from firm to firm.
Given their higher qualified staff & higher fixed costs they tend to charge larger retainers. Fees cover not just the sale but, also, extensive advisory services. Buyers of larger businesses tend to not use online marketplaces to source targets and, so, are more difficult to find. Intermediaries need to use a process that's more expensive & time consuming as it involves shortlisting hundreds of target buyers & approaching them individually.
Intermediaries / Advisers selling larger businesses:
Bulge Bracket: Mid Market Players (£50m and above)
While a £10m business might be referred to as lower mid-market, it's not till you get to about £50m that you're considered firmly in mid-market territory. Intermediaries operating here tend to have many highly qualified and experienced hands in corporate finance, deal structuring, financial analysis etc. They also tend to be have formal approval by bodies like the ICAEW. Most will be registered with and regulated by the FCA.
These firms tend to provide their advisory services on a longer time frame. They'd typically work with a business for 3-5 years providing strategic advice and preparing the business for a planned equity event. Some of these equity events are IPOs and these firms are capable of advising on and assisting with stock market listings as well as a range of other fund raising and capital restructuring mandates.
Corporate / bulge bracket advisories
Commercial Real Estate Agents
Commercial estate agents handle the acquisition and disposal of freehold commercial property (though some also take on the sale of businesses operating in leased properties).
As with business transfer agents and brokers, commercial real estate agents are not officially regulated and no formal qualifications are required to operate. Some, however, will have chartered surveyor expertise in-house and are members of RICS. RICS, or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, sets standards for the profession which are available for viewing on the RICS website.
Where a commercial real estate agent takes on the sale of a leasehold business they operate very similarly to business transfer agents and business brokers. We do not offer a service matching you with the right commercial real estate broker. We recommend you use our advanced search facility where you can input your post code and a radius to find agents near you.
Commercial real estate brokers
There are several other services available to sellers & buyers - from legal advice to exit planning to wealth management. This is not an area of focus for us but we do maintain a small number of listings for Succession Planners, Exit Planners, Wealth Managers and others.
All other services
Which is the right agent to assist you as a buyer / investor?
Need assistance with finding the right deals at the right price?
Disclaimer: We are not a regulatory body, nor do we have any mandate from the UK government to vet or licence firms operating in this industry. The businesses, services and organisations listed here are listed as a service to the general public. We make no promises or guarantees about the accuracy or quality of information provided here or the services being offered. We advise the public to carefully review the organisations listed in this directory and take independent advice before making a decision about utilising any listed services. If you discover incomplete, false or misleading information on this directory, please send corrected information to us using our contact page.