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Case Study: Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures

How we managed the sale of Australia's #1 tourist attraction to a large tourism group

Overview

Nash Advisory implemented an accelerated transaction strategy over a compressed timeline to deliver an optimal outcome for Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures. We facilitated the sale of the business to Journey Beyond, a private-equity owned tourism operator with an extensive portfolio of unique tourism experiences across Australia.

The owners of Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures engaged Nash Advisory to begin the sale process for their popular tourism business in early 2019. They intended to remain involved with the business post-sale, offering their expertise to continue to grow and develop the business over the coming years.

Over the course of an intense, six month sales process, we spent 43 days working with the business owners in Broome and Perth. We developed a highly effective sales strategy which resulted in a successful outcome for all parties.

Industry

Tourism, Travel, Aircraft, Boating

Key outcomes

  • Guidance through a complex and thorough sale process
  • A unified approach involving legal, accounting, financial, and commercial advisors working towards the same successful outcome
  • Achieved a remarkable sale result for our client, resulting in a win for our client, the buyer, and local communities

The situation

The owner of Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures had built the business up over 10 years, investing in, building, attracting, and developing an experience around the amazing natural wonder, the Horizontal Falls, described by Sir David Attenborough as being “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world”.

The founder had seeded and grown operations at the Horizontal Falls area from a single facility, to include four seaplanes, six fast boats, three houseboats, and two 4WD vehicles. In January 2019, the founder and owner engaged Nash Advisory to manage a sale process, to be completed before the commencement of the busy holiday season in the latter half of the year.

How we got results

1

Understanding the business

Upon engagement with the owners, Nash Advisory’s Lucas Couper and Kieran Ellis spent a total of 43 days in Broome on site with the Horizontal Falls staff, suppliers, and owners, developing an in-depth understanding of the tourism business from the ground up. We consolidated thousands of pieces of information, tour paraphernalia, images, and financial data, and composed a cohesive Information Memorandum and financial model.

2

Market sounding

Through our extensive network of private equity, financial, and trade entities, we engaged with a number of targeted buyers with the ability to undertake a transaction of this size. Through diligent analysis and screening, we were able to quickly identify the logical target, and focused our attention on yielding a great sales outcome.

3

Identifying the growth factors

In conference with the management team at Horizontal Falls, we identified eight areas for additional growth to be implemented over the next two years. The Nash Advisory team developed models and forecasts based on passenger data, industry research, and analysis. This led to an increase in the business value to the potential buyer, and therefore to our client. We worked closely with local Aboriginal communities to maintain and extend existing agreements into the future.

4

Achieving the sale

Once a strong offer was received, we entered a short period of exclusivity. We received and answered over 400 data-orientated questions relating to the sale of the business. After a detailed diligence process, including numerous negotiations, Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures was able to achieve a successful sale at an extremely attractive price.

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“We brought together a strong and cohesive team to educate our client on the sale process, and to help them to achieve an excellent outcome by following our proven methodology. At the end of the journey, we were extremely pleased to have assisted in delivering a fantastic result for all involved.”
Lucas Couper
Lucas Couper
Director

The people involved

Timeline of the sale

January 2019

Nash Advisory was engaged to undertake a sale process for Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures.

February 2019

Nash Advisory worked with the client to develop a detailed financial model, information memorandum, investor presentation, and growth forecast for the business. We also identified a number of normalisations which added significant value to the owners—producing a 20% value uplift.

March 2019

Nash Advisory undertook buyer meetings and preliminary negotiations with an interested party, eventually negotiating a non-binding offer within 60 days of initial engagement.

April 2019

Nash Advisory managed the due diligence process, involving the production and sharing of over 1,000 documents, questions and answers, and management presentations.

May 2019

Led by Kain Lawyers, a business sale agreement was prepared, negotiated and agreed upon, after meeting a number of other legal and commercial documentation requirements.

June 2019

The sale was finalised and Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures entered into legally binding agreements for the purchase of the company and its assets. The company was purchased by Journey Beyond.

August 2019

Funds received by owners.

Services offered

Find the right sales strategy for your tourism business

When it comes to selling your business, Nash Advisory offers a highly detailed and extremely thorough process that produces the best possible results.

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