Exit Strategies Insights

Industry insights, knowledge base and announcements for business owners and professional advisors

Sell a Business Insights

Better to sell early in consolidation. Here’s why.

Consolidation is inevitable in maturing industries.  As an M&A advisor working with owners of private wholesale distribution and manufacturing companies, I often get asked whether selling early or late in a consolidation phase is better from a valuation perspective.  My answer is always case-specific, but generally earlier is better. Before I explain why, I want to point out that industry consolidation is not always at the top of a seller’s list of sale timing considerations. …

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Discover Exit Strategies’ New Checklist of COVID-Era Normalization Adjustments

For most of us, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years of our lives. The pandemic has affected business performance both negatively and positively, temporarily and structurally.  It will permanently reshape the global economy in several ways, most of which we are just beginning to understand. Change and uncertainty makes the job of valuing and appraising businesses and business assets more challenging. At the core of every business valuation analysis is the process …

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M&A Advisor Tip: Finish Strong

Begin the sale process while your business is on an upward trend. Buyers pay a premium for businesses with well-defined opportunities and a strong growth story. Too many business owners get tired or complacent and psychologically retire early, before the sale. In fact, after retirement, burnout is the number two reason business owners sell. Unfortunately, burnout usually leads to declining revenues and reduced leverage in the sale process. Stay focused until the end and sell …

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Lopsided Market Drives M&A Values in Pandemic

With all the upheaval in the world right now, you’d expect M&A deal values to take a dip. But recent market analysis shows that’s anything but the case. According to GF Data [1], companies with an enterprise value of $10 million to $25 million sold at an average multiple of 5.9 times EBITDA in the first two quarters, versus a 5.7 average from 2003 to present. Similarly, business sales with a transaction value of $25 …

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Selling Your Business in the Covid-19 Era

Business owners contemplating a sale may be asking the question: Is this a good time to sell my business or do I need to wait until the Covid-19 economic disruption is over? Let’s explore three interrelated factors to help an owner answer that question for their situation. Market Conditions Are their buyers for my business during this pandemic?  Yes, there is no shortage of buyers for well-run companies. That statement was true before Covid-19 and …

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Get to know your buyer: Conducting Seller Due Diligence

As a business owner selling your company, prospective buyers will perform due diligence on you and your company.  But you should also conduct thorough due diligence on the prospective buyer. When a buyer conducts due diligence on a company, they want to know that the company’s operations, finances, HR, environmental and legal matters (etc., etc.) are in order. When a seller of a small business conducts due diligence on a buyer, they want to know …

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Pros & Cons of Selling Your Company to a Strategic Buyer

When it’s time to sell your business, you will likely have multiple buyer types to choose from. You could receive offers from strategic, financial, and individual buyers. As you start thinking about selling your business, think about what’s most important to you in a sale. Different buyer groups tend to operate by different playbooks. Understanding what each group typically has to offer can help us target the buyers who are the best fit for your …

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M&A Advisor Tip: Put on Your Poker Face

Ready to sell?  Talk to your spouse and trusted tax, financial and legal advisors. Beyond that, keep it a secret. Confidentiality is extremely important in almost any business sale, merger or acquisition. When stakeholders think your business is for sale, it creates dangerous uncertainty. Valuable employees start looking for other jobs, vendors tighten credit terms, and competitors use it as an entry point to poach your customers. The average business takes 9 to 12 months …

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Private Equity is Open for Business

We stay in regular contact with  private equity groups from around the country to monitor M&A market activity. Currently, the message we are hearing is that these firms are “open for business.” Private equity firms are in the business of buying, building and selling businesses. It’s how they deliver investor returns. They don’t have time to sit back and wait things out. The clock is ticking as they work to meet investor expectations within fund …

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Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors: Alternative to a Bankruptcy Sale

When the goal of a financially distressed business owner is to sell with minimum publicity, free of unsecured debt and potential liability for directors and management, the most advantageous exit path may be an Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors (ABC). Most buyers won’t acquire the assets of an insolvent entity unless the assets are “cleansed” through an ABC or bankruptcy process. Typically, the board of the troubled entity has decided that a rapid sale …

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