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The Ambitious Apprentice  

June 16. 2023 |  

About this episode


In 2014, Mark Wright, who won BBC’s The Apprentice, used the £250,000 prize to co-found Climb Online, a digital marketing agency, in collaboration with business tycoon Lord Sugar.

Their collective reputation and expertise in the industry enabled the digital agency to flourish, eventually becoming one of the largest in the UK with a workforce of 130 employees at its height. In 2022, Climb Online achieved a significant milestone as it was acquired by xDNA, a global digital agency group, for a value that amounted to 9.5 times its EBITDA. This acquisition marked the first successful business exit for a participant in The Apprentice. In this episode, you will learn how to:

  • Protect your downside when an acquirer asks you to roll equity.
  • Expand your company’s potential through strategic networking.
  • Utilize an audacious negotiation tactic to secure an advantageous deal.
  • Implement a management team to ensure the business can succeed without you.
  • Recruit talent that aligns perfectly with your company’s unique needs and culture.
  • Lower churn by understanding and acting on customer behaviors and trends.
  • Ignite your employees’ enthusiasm and maintain morale during the acquisition process.
  • Deploy one bulletproof strategy Mark used to avoid an earn-out.


Check out our article on Companies With Higher Chance Of Receiving 8 Times EBITDA Offer.

And 8 Ways To Avoid Regretting Your Decision To Sell too.

Check out our full M&A Glossary


Show Notes & Links

Mark’s Final Pitch

Mark Winning The Apprentice

Lord Sugar

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Letter of Intent (LOI): A letter of intent (LOI) is a document declaring the preliminary commitment of one party to do business with another. The letter outlines the chief terms of a prospective deal. Commonly used in major business transactions, LOIs are similar in content to term sheets. One major difference between the two, though, is that LOIs are presented in letter formats, while term sheets are listicle in nature.


Earn-out: Earnout or earn-out refers to a pricing structure in mergers and acquisitions where the sellers must “earn” part of the purchase price based on the performance of the business following the acquisition.


Shotgun Clause: A shotgun clause is included in a shareholder agreement to provide the parties with a means to dissolve a shareholder’s position by forcing another party to sell their shares. Once triggered, the targeted party will be obligated to sell their shares and exit the company, unless they are able to reverse the purchase.


Put Option: A put option gives you the right, but not the obligation, to sell a stock at a specific price (known as the strike price) by a specific time – at the option’s expiration. For this right, the put buyer pays the seller a sum of money called a premium. Unlike stocks, which can exist indefinitely, an option ends at expiration and then is settled, with some value remaining or with the option expiring completely worthless.



Due-Diligence: Due diligence is an investigation, audit, or review performed to confirm facts or details of a matter under consideration. In the financial world, due diligence requires an examination of financial records before entering into a proposed transaction with another party.


About Our Guest

Mark Wright

Mark Wright, an influential figure in the business world. As the CEO of Wrighton Investments and the Founder of Climb Online, he has proven himself as a visionary leader with an impressive track record. Mark’s entrepreneurial journey took off when he emerged victorious on “The Apprentice” and since then, he has soared to new heights. Recognized as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Mark’s exceptional business acumen and groundbreaking contributions have left an indelible mark on the industry. With the title of UK Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018 and his role as an investor, Mark continues to inspire and support aspiring entrepreneurs.


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