Oxford Fencing Supplies sold to Hertfordshire company

Oxford Fencing Supplies Paul Whittington with Wendy Lam, Watershed
Oxford Fencing Supplies Paul Whittington with Wendy Lam, Watersheds

Abingdon-based Oxford Fencing Supplies Limited, has been sold to Lawsons Holdings Ltd, a family-owned timber and building merchant, based in Hertfordshire.

Lawsons, which has an annual turnover of £156 million, has acquired Oxford Fencing Supplie as part of a strategy to strengthen Lawsons presence in Oxfordshire and expand its capacity as a fencing supplier.

Watersheds, which has offices in Swindon, first met the owner of Oxford Fencing Supplies, Paul Whittington, back in 2017 after being referred by a local accounting firm.  Paul was considering the sale of his business, but had a price expectation which he wasn’t convinced could be achieved.

He felt the approach proposed by Watersheds, which was for him to build the business up further over the next few years while Watersheds began identifying possible opportunities to sell his firm, was right for him and his company.

By 2021, Oxford Fencing Supplies could demonstrate strong, consistent, and sustainable growth, even through the pandemic, and together Paul and Watersheds decided it was the right time to sell the business.

Within four weeks of going to market, Watersheds brought Paul multiple offers from a range of different buyers, including national and international traders and investment companies. All offers considerably exceeded Paul’s price expectations.

“The offers were all of a decent value and structure, but in the end, I selected Lawsons because I had a good rapport with their team and felt confident they would take the best care of my business and its people, going forward,” said Paul.

“Many of my staff have been with the company for years, and it’s important to me they are looked after.  The ethos and culture of Lawsons is very similar to my own, being a family business run by its third generation, so I am very happy Oxford Fencing Supplies will fit in with its new owner.

Wendy Lam, a partner with Watersheds, said: “Like many owners, Paul realised the best succession planning tends to start years before a sale takes place, and took our advice to work hard in getting the business into great shape, in order to achieve his expectations.

“It is very common for owners who have built up a company from scratch to be keen to make sure their employees can enjoy a secure future.  We understand those employees who have been so loyal have contributed to the business’s success.

“Securing a great deal in terms of finance and structure for our clients and their company going forward is important. We were glad to bring Paul so many strong offers, from such different parties.  It has been a pleasure to see Paul achieve all of his goals by selling to Lawsons.”

Legal advice on the sale was provided by Abingdon-based Challenor & Son.