Sharelink was the largest and most successful execution-only share dealing operation in the UK. It was owned 65% by British Telecom, 31% by Albert E. Sharp and 4% by its founder. In May 1992 Cinven supported the buyout of the business by a management team led by the founder.
As a result of the privatisations of public sector businesses, the business had thrived from building up a substantial operation from dealing on behalf of private clients. From that platform, Sharelink’s strategy was to build a low cost telephone dealing service for private clients, following a model which had proved successful in the US.
Following the buyout the trading performance of the company was buoyant. In July 1993 it was floated on the London Stock Exchange, providing Cinven with the opportunity to realise a significant capital gain on its investment. The balance of Cinven’s shareholding was sold when the company was subsequently acquired by Charles Schwab, the world’s leading execution-only stockbroker based in the United States.
Multiple returned on investment: 4.8x