All your world’s an oyster or some of it

ftoysters106a.jpgThe Loch Fyne Oyster Bar at Cairndow in Scotland. This was the precursor of the chain of Loch Fyne restaurants that now exist throughout the UK. For more information see the Wikipedia article Loch Fyne Oysters and Restaurants.Image via WikipediaLoch Fyne Oysters is being lauded for helping the employees buy the company in a soft management buyout of £4million. Now this is a great story of a business built by two people, one an eccentric but poor landowner and the other a deep sea diver, Johnny Noble and Andrew Lane.

But what can we learn about business ownership for the Loch Fyne story? Interestingly there were two businesses, the producer and the the restaurants. The business subject to the MBO is the producer side. The restaurant business (36 chain) was spun off from the original and sold to brewer Greene King for £68million.

The lesson for angels and investors is to be careful because if you were not part of the spin-out, then you would not have shared in the big win. However, it is good that those who did have the big win are helping the employees buy their own company.

Being part of an angel group where a scheme is being suggested that the return to the angels be capped and our holdings placed in a separate company, I am glad to see that the Loch Fyne shareholders are being so generous. There may be hope for my little angel group.

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