Didier Chambaretaud undertook a self-funded acquisition process between 2004 and 2007 and wrote a book about it, named after “Reprise d’entreprise – Comment déjouer les pièges d’un marché miné”.
With background in strategy consulting and auditing (KPMG), he decided upon a leave to start this adventure and ended up acquiring a company in the corporate mail distribution business, based in Metz (North-East of France). Although the targeted value is much lower than what a search fund entrepreneur can expect (below 5 m euros), the process and the roadblock he met during the several steps of acquisition process are worth understanding, in particular for those who want to pursue a search in France.
What is striking in his book is the difficulty to find senior debt with serious partners: banks are unaware of the benefits of self-funded acquisition process and over estimate the risks. Finding good financial and legal advisors was hard for him. Last but not least, he highlights the value of joining a network for to-be entrepreneurs, and he points out that the CCI of Paris was one of the most valuable asset in his search process.
You can find copies of this book in French on Amazon (it is rather expensive because the book has not be printed since a couple of years and is quite popular amongst entrepreneurs). If you read it then please let me know what you thought about it.
Benjamin Givelet, Stella Maris Equity