The number of business owners considering a management buy-out (MBO) has risen by a third in the past three years but still accounts for only 18 per cent of would-be sellers, according to figures compiled by Coutts, the private bank.

Only 30 per cent of those who completed an MBO said it represented the best form of exit, and 55 per cent said it was the only way they could exit the business or it offered best value.

Andrew Haigh, of Coutts Entrepreneurs, admitted there was a high percentage of “MBO sceptics” but said that by ruling out a sale to the management team, owners were dismissing a potentially attractive route to exit their business.

The main concerns about an MBO centred on achieving the highest price and the perceived risks of entering into talks with people the owners had worked with and knew well.

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