This week’s M&A Access features Ross Schoenfeld, VP, Cross Keys Capital, LLC. Schoenfeld surveys the impact the pandemic has had on his clients and the M&A market in general, noting how valuations for resilient firms has remained steady. He also delves into how Cross Keys Capital, LLC spends considerable time in the onset of the engagement to understand what the clients’ goals are for the transaction process.
This week’s M&A Access features Katharine Halpin, Founder & CEO, The Halpin Companies, Inc. Watch as Halpin reconciles with the 1999 KPMG report on why 83% of M&A transactions fail—expressing how the distraction of smartphones and ignoring the people aspect of transactions worsens statistics. Halpin also explains how leaders in emerging companies need to adopt “strategic think-time” to improve transaction statistics.
An old saying in negotiating the sale of a business goes like this: The buyer says to the seller, “You name the price, and I get to name the terms.”
Another saying used to explain the actual value of the term full price: “If we could find you a business that nets you $250,000 a year after debt service, and you could buy it for $100 down, would you really care what the full price was?”
It seems that everyone is concerned only about full price. And yet, full price is just part of the equation. If a seller is willing to accept a relatively small down payment and carry the balance, a higher full price can be achieved. On the other hand, the more cash the seller wants up front, the lower the full price. If the seller demands all cash, barring some form of outside financing, full price lowers – and, in most cases, the chance of selling decreases as well. Even in cases where outside financing is used, such as through SBA, etc., the lender will do everything possible to ensure that the price makes sense.
Sellers should understand that both what they hope to accomplish in the sale of their business and the structure of the actual sale can dramatically influence the asking price. Price is obviously important, but other factors may be even more important. For example, consider a seller with health issues who needs to sell as quickly as possible. In his case, timing becomes more essential than price. Another seller may place more importance on her business remaining in the community. In her case, finding a buyer who will not move the business may supersede price or certainly influence it.
Likewise, the structure of the deal can both influence price and be a more significant factor than price to either the buyer or the seller. The structure can dictate how much cash the seller receives up front, which may be more important than price for some sellers. On the other hand, sellers should also be aware how much the interest on their carry-back can add up to. If cash is not an immediate concern, monthly payments with an above-average interest rate may be enticing.
These examples all demonstrate the importance of the business broker professional sitting down with the seller prior to recommending a go-to-market price. During this meeting, the broker should find out what is really important to the seller, as these issues may have a direct bearing on the price.
Sellers should look at the following factors and rank them according to importance on a scale of one to five, with five being extremely important.
• Buyer Qualifications
• Full Price
• Amount of Cash Involved
• Commission/Selling Fees
• Closing Costs
• Exclusive Listing
• How the Business is Shown
• How a New Owner Continues the Business
By ranking these items and discussing them with a professional Business Broker, a seller can receive helpful advice from the broker on price, terms, and structuring the sale.
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This week’s M&A Access features Donald H. Noble, CFO, VetCor. Noble explains how VetCor has sustained itself during the pandemic as a recession-proof business that launched new services to increase its revenue. He also delves into how remote means of communication such as video conferencing and social media have allowed the business to remain in front of clients in a time that limits formal business visits.
This week’s M&A Access features Chuck Mohler, Founder & President, Eagle Corporate Advisors. Mohler discusses the impact COVID-19 has had on business owners in terms of transition planning, emphasizing how businesses with good capital structure are braced for the future. He also elaborates how his company, Eagle Corporate Advisors, can help businesses reach their goals and understand what they need to succeed.