How Three Moves Quadrupled the Value of this Business
Are you stuck trying to figure out how to create some recurring revenue for your business? Here’s how one business owner quadrupled the value of their business in three moves.
You know those automatic sales will make your business more valuable and predictable, but the secret to transforming your company is to think less about what’s in it for you and more about coming up with a reason for customers to agree to a monthly bill.
Take a look at the transformation of Laura Steward’s company, Guardian Angel. Steward had gotten her IT consulting firm up to $400,000 in revenue when she called in a valuation consultant to help her put a price on her business. Steward was disappointed to learn her company was worth less than fifty percent of one year’s sales because she had no recurring revenue and what sales she did have were dependent on her personally.
Steward set about to transform her business into a more valuable company and made three big moves:
- Angel Watch
The first thing Steward did was to design a monthly program called Angel Watch, which offered her business clients ongoing protection from technology problems. Steward offered her Angel Watch customers ongoing remote monitoring of their networks, pre-emptive virus protection and staff on call if there was ever a problem.
Steward approached her clients with a calculation of what they had spent with her firm over the most recent 12-month period, including the cost of her customer’s downtime. She made the case that by signing up for Angel Watch, they would save money when taking into consideration both the hard costs of her firm’s time and the soft costs associated with downtime.
90% of her customers switched from hourly billing to the Angel Watch program.
- Doubling Rates
Next Steward doubled her personal consulting rates. That way, when one of the customers who decided not to opt into Angel Watch called her firm, they were quoted one rate for a technician’s time or twice the price to have Steward herself. Not surprisingly, most customers opted for the cheaper option and others chose to re-consider their decision not to sign up for Angel Watch.
- Survivor Clause
Steward also credits a small legal manoeuvre for further driving up the value of her business. She included a “survivor clause” in her Angel Watch contracts, which stipulated that the obligations of the agreement would “survive” a change of ownership of her company.
Steward went on to successfully sell her business at a price that was more than four times the original valuation she had received just two years prior to launching Angel Watch.
Why Should You Hire A Business Broker
It’s more interesting to begin by asking: Can a business be sold without the use of a business broker? The undisputed answer is obviously yes. Many businesses still sell through private parties. Sellers hire brokers because they believe the broker will do a better job than they would.
Key functions of a broker
Business valuation: Fair market value is what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller, period. Without selling a number of businesses in a particular area, a broker couldn’t possibly know what fair market value is for a business. Without this experience it’s simply theory. The right broker will know the value based on experience, and work with local valuation experts to assist in the process.
Confidentiality: Brokers protect the seller and buyer in every possible way, even though the selling process requires the sharing of information. Using a good broker is the optimal way to ensure confidentiality.
Packaging and marketing: Quality brokers have expertise and know what makes a business attractive to a buyer. They can therefore identify strong selling points for each business, which a seller might not have considered. After all, selling a business is just that… Selling! Packaging and marketing are critical to the successful sale of a business.
Finding prospective buyers: Brokers should be constantly marketing to buyers through websites, direct mail, phone solicitation, and networking. This results in a large database of interested buyers of all sorts.
Buyer qualification: Brokers screen prospective buyers in several ways. They obtain documents such as credit reports and financial statements, as well as interview buyers regarding credentials and experience. Sellers do not want to waste time with buyers who may not have the needed experience or are not serious buyers.
Consultation: A broker works with owners throughout the process regarding all aspects of the sale, including the terms of sale, financing issues, non-compete and other contract issues, customer retention, and whatever else is needed to make the process run smoothly.
Negotiations: Brokers provide important third-party negotiation skills to ensure that the deal gets done under terms that are satisfactory. This is one of the most underappreciated aspects of what a good broker provides and could fill an entire book of its own. This is where the broker either pays for himself or costs the seller money.
Financing: Successful brokerage firms have access and expertise in obtaining financing for the buyer so that the seller can receive cash at close if the business and buyer qualify. A broker can also provide guidance and valuable experience with regard to seller financing issues when necessary.
Large Pools of Buyers: It is simple Economics 101: Sellers can’t get the best deal from one or two potential buyers they met at an industry seminar. The larger the pool of potential buyers, the better the chance of getting not only the right price and terms, but the best fit for your clients and staff.
There is a reason some brokers successfully sell many businesses each year, while others don’t. Some work hard and produce results while others merely list businesses and wait. Selling a business is not a simple process. It’s a complex, legally binding transaction with potential repercussions far into the future.
Randy Hendershot 916.993.5433 ext 5
3017 Douglas Blvd, Suite 300, Roseville, CA 95661
firstname.lastname@example.org www.evobizsales.comRead More
Five Important Positioning Tips In Planning To Sell Your Business
In order to get top dollar for your business, it is necessary to prepare for the sale well in advance. In short, a tremendous amount of strategy and preparation goes into a successful sale. The amount you ultimately receive for your business is directly tied to how well you prepare.
At the top of the list of making sure that your business is attractive to potential buyers is to make certain your business is as well positioned in the market as possible. Of course, this is often easier stated than done. Here are some of the best ways to make sure your business is optimally positioned.
Tip One – Start Positioning Your Business Well in Advance
Selling your business isn’t something you should just do one day. You should start positioning your business at least one year before the closing.
Quite often, experts say business owners should always operate as though a sale is on the horizon. This makes a great deal of sense on one hand. If you ever experience an unexpected turn of events and need to sell, then you will certainly be ready. Another reason that this advice is solid is due to the fact that operating as though a sale is on the horizon helps you make certain that your business is running as effectively and efficiently as possible. This also helps with your short and long term decision making.
Tip Two – Always Think About Growth
Another way to ensure optimal position in the market is to always stay focused on growth. Asking yourself what steps you can take to grow your business in both the short term and the long term is a prudent move. You should always know what it takes to launch a new growth stage. As unusual as it sounds businesses can even foster growth by acquisition if well planned. This can show faster results than organic growth helping to foster new markets, add needed employee talent, and decrease the impact of fixed costs.
Tip Three – Customers, Lots of Customers/Clients
You don’t want a prospective buyer to see that you have only one or two key customers or clients. Understandably, this situation should make a buyer quite nervous. It comes across as extreme vulnerability. Having many varied customers or clients is a step in the right direction. Make sure to have an understanding of your customer concentration percentage. As a general rule your business should not have any one customer with over 15% of your total revenue.
Tip Four – Be Ready for Due Diligence
Whatever you do, don’t overlook due diligence. Neglecting or waiting to prepare for the buyer’s due diligence stage until the eleventh hour is quite risky. Have all of your financial, legal and operations documents ready to go. A failure to properly handle due diligence could derail a deal or even reduce the amount you receive. One of the easiest items that will have the most impact on value is the readiness and accuracy of your financials. Invest the time and money to have a professional account/CPA keep your records accurate and up to date.
Tip Five – Understand Your Business’s Strengths and Weaknesses
Every business has strengths and weaknesses. Don’t attempt to hide your weaknesses or overplay your strengths. Be transparent! There is no such thing as a perfect business! Many times a weakness can be turned into a positive in the buyers eyes. As an example, if your marketing efforts have not been consistent yet you have a nice growth curve, imagine a buyer proficient in marketing and what he/she could do to affect future growth.
A business broker is an expert at handling investors and even writing a business plan that you can hand to potential buyers.
Think about boosting your market position while simultaneously increasing the odds that you receive top dollar for your sale. Instead of rushing, take the time to prepare and work with a business broker to achieve the best market position and sale price possible. Planning leads to increase value and a much smoother transaction.Read More
How To Avoid Deal Breakers When Selling Your Business
Many business owners are unfamiliar with the dynamics of selling a company, because they have never done so. There are numerous possible “deal breakers.” Being aware of the following pitfalls and their remedies should help prevent the possibility of an aborted transaction.
Neglecting the Running of Your Business
A major reason companies with sales under $20 million become derailed during the selling process is that the owner becomes consumed with the pending transaction and neglects the day to day operation of the business. At some time during the selling process, which can take six to twelve months from beginning to end, the CEO/owner typically takes his or her eye off the ball. Since the CEO/owner is the key to all aspects of the business, his lack of attention to the business invariably affects sales, costs and profits. A potential buyer could become concerned if the business flattens out or falls off.
Solution: For most CEOs/owners, selling their company is one of the most dramatic and important phases in the company’s history. This is no time to be overly cost conscious. The owner should retain, within reason, the best intermediary, transaction lawyer and other advisors to alleviate the pressure so that he or she can devote the time necessary for effectively running the business.
Placing Too High a Price on the Business
Obviously, many owners want to maximize the selling price on the company that has often been their life’s work, or in fact, the life’s work of their multi-generation family. The problem with an irrational and indiscriminate pricing of the business is that the mergers and acquisition market is sophisticated; professional acquirers will not be fooled.
Solution: By retaining an expert intermediary and/or appraiser, an owner should be able to arrive at a price that is justifiable and defensible. If you set too high a price, you may end up with an undesirable buyer who fails to meet the purchase price payments and/or destroys the desirable corporate culture that the seller has created.
Breaching the Confidentiality of the Impending Sale
In many situations, the selling process involves too many parties, and due to so many participants in the information loop, confidentiality is breached. It happens, perhaps more frequently than not. The results can change the course of the transaction and in some cases; the owner—out of frustration—calls off the deal.
Solution: Using intermediaries in a transaction certainly helps reduce a confidentiality breach. Working with only a few buyers at a time can also help eliminate a breach. Involving senior management can also prevent information leaks.
Not Preparing for Sale Far Enough in Advance
Most business owners decide to sell their business somewhat impulsively. According to a survey of business sellers nationwide, the major reason for selling is boredom and burnout. Further down the list of reasons reported by survey respondents is retirement or lack of successor heirs. With these factors in mind, unless the owner takes several years of preparation, chances are the business will not be in top condition to sell.
Solution: Having well-prepared and well-documented financial statements for several years in advance of the company being sold is worth all the extra money, and then some. Buying out minority stockholders, cleaning up the balance sheet, settling outstanding lawsuits and sprucing up the housekeeping are all-important. If the business is a “one-man-band,” then building management infrastructure will give the company value and credibility.
Not Anticipating the Buyer’s Request
A buyer usually has to obtain bank financing to complete the transaction. Therefore, he needs appraisals on the property, machinery and equipment, as well as other assets. If the owner is selling real estate, an environmental study is necessary. If a seller has been properly advised, he will realize that closing costs will amount to five to seven percent of the purchase price; i.e., $250,000-$350,000 for a $5 million transaction. These costs are well worth the expense, because the seller is more apt to receive a higher price if he can provide the buyer with all the necessary information to do a deal.
Solution: The owner should have appraisals completed before he tries to sell the business, but if the appraisals are more than two years old, they may have to be updated.
Seller Desiring To Retire After Business Is Sold
It is a natural instinct for the burnt-out owner to take his cash and run. However, buyers are very concerned with the integration process after the sale is completed, as well as discovering whether or not the customer and vendor relationships are going to be easily transferable.
Solution: If the owner were to become a director for one year after the company is sold, the chances are that the buyer would feel a lot more secure that the all-important integration would be smoother and the various relationships would be successfully transferable.
Negotiating Every Item
Being boss of one’s own company for the past ten to twenty years will accustom one to having his or her own way… just about all the time. The potential buyer probably will have a similar set of expectations.
Solution: Decide ahead of the negotiation which are the very important items and which ones are not critical. In the ensuing negotiating process, the owner will have a better chance to “horse trade” knowing the negotiatiable and non-negotiable items.
Allocating Too Much Time for Selling Process
Owners are often told that it will take six to twelve months to sell a company from the very beginning to the very end. For the up-front phase, when the seller must strategize, set a range of values, and identify potential buyers, etc., it is all right to take one’s time. It is also acceptable for the buyer to take two or three months to close the deal after the Letter of Intent is signed by both parties. What is not acceptable is an extended delay during which the company is “put in play” (the time between identifying buyers, visiting the business and negotiating). This phase should not take more than three months. If it does, this means that the deal is dragging and is unlikely to close. The pressure on the owner becomes emotionally exhausting, and he tires of the process quickly.
Solution: Again, the seller needs to have a professional orchestrate the process to keep the potential buyers on a time schedule, and move the offers along so the momentum is not lost. The merger and acquisition advisor or intermediary plays the role of coach, and the player (seller) either wins or loses the game depending on how well those two work together.Read More
Financial vs. Strategic Buyer- Did Microsoft Overpay for LinkedIn?
Microsoft’s recent $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn provides an illustrative example of a strategic acquisition – the type of sale that usually garners the most gain for the acquired company’s shareholders.
You may be wondering what a billion-dollar acquisition has to do with your business, but the very same reasons a strategic acquirer buys a $26 billion business holds true for the acquisition of a $2 million company.
The financial vs. strategic buyer
A financial buyer is buying the future stream of profits coming from your business, whereas the strategic buyer is buying your business for what it is worth in their hands. To simplify, a financial acquirer buys your business because they think they can sell more of your stuff, whereas a strategic buyer acquires your business because they think it will help them sell more of their stuff.
One might argue that Microsoft overpaid for LinkedIn given that LinkedIn only generated a few hundred million dollars in EBITDA last year, meaning the good folks in Redmond paid an astronomical multiple of LinkedIn’s earnings.
But earnings are not the only thing strategic acquirers care about when they go to make an acquisition.
Microsoft‘s acquisition of LinkedIn is a classic example of a strategic acquisition. The Redmond-based technology giant has been undergoing a major transformation from being a software company focused on operating systems to a business concentrating on cloud-based software applications. Microsoft enjoys a dominant market share in the basic tools white-collar business people use to get their job done, but other software packages have begun to nip at the heels of their dominance in many product lines.
Take Microsoft Office for example. Many businesses have started to use competitive offerings from Google and Apple. Even more companies cling to older versions of Microsoft Office software, even though Microsoft is keen to move everyone over to the cloud-based Office 365.
In purchasing LinkedIn, Microsoft saw an opportunity to suck data from LinkedIn into Microsoft’s cloud-based software applications, making them irresistible. Imagine you’re a sales person and you just landed a big meeting with a new prospect. You enter the appointment as a Microsoft Outlook event and suddenly the details of the event feature everything LinkedIn knows about your prospect.
Now you can make small talk about where they went to school, the previous jobs they have held and know the scope of their current role – all without ever leaving Outlook.
Microsoft is betting this kind of integration across its platforms will compel more people to upgrade to the latest software applications. While your company is likely smaller than LinkedIn, the same thing that makes a giant buy another giant holds true for smaller businesses. To get the highest possible price for your business, remember that companies make strategic acquisitions because they want to sell more of their stuff.Read More
Dangers In Forming A Company Without Advising An Attorney
SECURITIES ISSUES FOR STARTUPS: CALIFORNIA LIMITED FILING EXEMPTION NOTICE
There are many dangers in forming a company without advising an attorney, such as failing to file a securities registration exemption with the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) and federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The most common California exemption is the Limited Offering Exemption Notice (LOEN) under Corporations Code § 25102(f). This exemption is available if (a) the securities are sold to no more than 35 persons, (b) all purchasers have a preexisting personal or business relationship with the offeror or company (and other owners of the company), (c) all purchasers are not purchasing the security with a view to sell or distribute the security, and (d) the offer and sale are not accomplished by publication of any advertisement. Failure to file a LOEN within 15 calendar days from issuance of the securities may result in legal action from the Commissioner of Business Oversight, including civil penalties. Securities are typical considered issued upon the earlier of actual issuance, formation of your LLC or corporation, or execution of the Operating Agreement or Bylaws.
California law and the SEC clearly define a security as stock, so when forming a corporation, a LOEN must be filed. Despite federal law not specifically mentioning LLC membership interests, LLC interests are still subject to the federal Securities Act of 1933 because they are considered investment contracts (securities). The federal case SEC v. Howey, 328 U.S. 293 (1946) illustrates, “[a]n investment contract…means a contract, transaction or scheme whereby a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits solely from the efforts of the promoter or third party.” Corporations Code § 25019 reiterates this, indicating a “security” is any interest in an LLC “…except a membership interest in [an LLC] in which the person claiming this exception can prove that all of the members are actively engaged in the management of the [LLC].” English translation: LLC membership interests may be investment contracts, and therefore securities, when all members of an LLC are not involved in the management (the same is true for limited partnership interests). In this case, a registration exemption must be filed.
Besides California securities registration exemptions, registering the securities under the Securities Act of 1933 may be necessary. However, most securities issued upon the formation of a company are exempt from Regulation D of the Securities Act. A discussion of the federal securities registration exemptions is outside the scope of this material.
You should avoid the many pitfalls of using LegalZoom or any other service to form your company, and failing to file a securities registration exemption is one of many. If you have any questions about securities or entity formation issues, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Tyler Q. Dahl for a free consultation. 333 University Ave, Suite 200, Sacramento, CA 95825, 916-565-7455
Disclaimer: This material was prepared for general informational purposes only, and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and does not constitute legal advice. This material should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. You should always consult a qualified attorney regarding any specific legal problem or matter.
Content provided by Law Offices of Tyler Q. DahlRead More
Three Major Negotiation Methods When Selling Your Business
Basically, there are three major negotiation methods when selling your business.
1. Take it or leave it. A buyer makes an offer or a seller makes a counter-offer – both sides can let the “chips fall where they may.”
2. Split the difference. The buyer and seller, one or the other, or both, decide to split the difference between what the buyer is willing to offer and what the seller is willing to accept. A real oversimplification, but often used.
3. This for that. Both buyer and seller have to find out what is important to each. So many of these important areas are non-monetary and involve personal things such as allowing the owner’s son to continue employment with the firm. The buyer may want to move the business.
There is an old adage that advises, “Never negotiate your own deal!”
The first thing both sides have to decide on is who will represent them. Will they have their attorney, their intermediary or will they go it alone? Intermediaries are a good choice for a seller. They have done it before, are good advocates for their side and they understand the company and the seller.
How do the parties get together in a win-win negotiation? The first step is for both sides to work with their advisors to settle on the price and deal structure positions. Both sides should be able to present their side of these issues. Which is more important – price or terms, or non-monetary items?
Information is vital to a buyer. Buyers should keep in mind that the seller knows more about the business than he or she does. Both buyer and seller need to anticipate what is important to the other and keep that in mind when discussing the deal. Buyer and seller should do due diligence on each other. Both buyer and seller must be able to walk away from a deal that is just not going to work.
Bob Woolf, the famous sports agent said in his book, Friendly Persuasion: My Life as a Negotiator, “I never think of negotiating against anyone. I work with people to come to an agreement. Deals are put together.”Read More
Selling Your Business When It’s Your Identity
The following is a recent podcast from Built To Sell by John Warrillow founder of The Sellability Score about a business owner Yvonne Tocquigny who used a professional valuation and competition to raise her sell price by 3 x’s.
Yvonne Tocquigny built her advertising agency up over 35 years working with clients like Jeep and Dell. Then in 2015, she got a call asking if she would consider selling. The problem was that her agency had become part of who she was. Part of why Tocquigny feared selling was that her agency had become part of her identity, which is an issue we deal with when we help clients through The Envelope Test, module 12 in The Value Builder System. To get started, get your Value Builder Score now.
About Yvonne Tocquigny
Yvonne Tocquigny launched her company, Tocquigny (TOH-KEY-KNEE), in 1980. From its inception, it has built a talented team of makers, thinkers and doers—all working within a company culture that complements the uniqueness of Austin. Tocquigny has been named a top agency by Adweek, B2B and Clutch, and Tocquigny herself has become a business trailblazer, a sought-after speaker, a respected writer and a mentor to many.
In 2015, Archer Malmo, a leading brand communications agency based in Memphis, approached Tocquigny. Learning that Archer Malmo shared many of her business’ philosophies and values, and understanding that the combination of the two shops would better serve the agency’s clients, Tocquigny made the bold move to join forces. Despite the company’s change of name, the agency’s work remains the same and, as Chief Creative and Strategy Officer of Archer Malmo, Austin, Tocquigny remains a popular columnist for the Austin Business Journal and is a frequent speaker for groups of CEOs across the country, international Six Sigma organizations and groups of startup entrepreneurs.
Tocquigny is a founding partner of The Capital Factory, an inaugural member of the Advisory Council for the School of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Texas and a member of the Advisory Board for the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. She recently presented at BMA15, the largest B2B marketing conference in the world.
Click here to hear the podcast.Read More
Successful Closing When Selling Your Business
The closing is the formal transfer of a business. It usually also represents the successful culmination of many months of hard work, extensive negotiations, lots of give and take, and ultimately a satisfactory meeting of the minds. The document governing the closing is the Purchase and Sale Agreement. It generally covers the following:
• A description of the transaction – Is it a stock or asset sale?
• Terms of the agreement – This covers the price and terms and how it is to be paid. It should also include the status of any management that will remain with the business.
• Representations and Warranties – These are usually negotiated after the Letter of Intent is agreed upon. Both buyer and seller want protection from any misrepresentations. The warranties provide assurances that everything is as represented.
• Conditions and Covenants – These include non-competes and agreements to do or not to do certain things.
There are four key steps that must be undertaken before the sale of a business can close:
1. The seller must show satisfactory evidence that he or she has the legal right to act on behalf of the selling company and the legal authority to sell the business.
2. The buyer’s representatives must have completed the due diligence process, and claims and representations made by the seller must have been substantiated.
3. The necessary financing must have been secured, and the proper paperwork and appropriate liens must be in place so funds can be released.
4. All representations and warranties must be in place, with remedies made available to the buyer in case of seller’s breech.
There are two major elements of the closing that take place simultaneously:
• Corporate Closing: The actual transfer of the corporate stock or assets based on the provisions of the Purchase and Sale Agreement. Stockholder approvals are in, litigation and environmental issues satisfied, representations and warranties signed, leases transferred, employee and board member resignations, etc. completed, and necessary covenants and conditions performed. In other words, all of the paperwork outlined in the Purchase and Sale Agreement has been completed.
• Financial Closing: The paperwork and legal documentation necessary to provide funding has been executed. Once all of the conditions of funding have been met, titles and assets are transferred to the purchaser, and the funds delivered to the seller.
It is best if a pre-closing is held a week or so prior to the actual closing. Documents can be reviewed and agreed upon, loose ends tied up, and any open matters closed. By doing a pre-closing, the actual closing becomes a mere formality, rather than requiring more negotiation and discussion.
The closing is not a time to cut costs – or corners. Since mistakes can be very expensive, both sides require expert advice. Hopefully, both sides are in complete agreement and any disagreements were resolved at the pre-closing meeting. A closing should be a time for celebration!Read More
Market Pulse Quarterly Report Shows 2015 Ended With Strong Sales of Businesses and Optimism is Growing for 2016
The quarterly Market Pulse Survey published by the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA), M&A Source and the Pepperdine Private Capital Market Project showed that business sales remained strong in 2015 especially in the Main Street market. The Main Street market generally refers to smaller commercial establishments, so named because many are found in towns across the United States.
The Small Business Administration had a record year distributing more than $23.6 billion in loans in FY 2015. There was also significant private capital and traditional lending for the Main Street market in 2015 as 71 percent of Market Pulse study respondents who closed deals under $2MM in value reported that the businesses utilized financing other than SBA funds.
The SBA record year coupled with the traditional lending demonstrates how incredibly active for the Main Street market was in 2015.
The Q4 2015 survey which compares the conditions for businesses being sold in Main Street (values $0-$2MM) and the Lower Middle Market (values $2MM -$50MM) was completed by 348 business brokers and M&A advisors representing 38 states. Respondents completed 410 transactions in the 4th quarter of 2015.
The Market Pulse Survey showed that in Q4 2015 deals took longer to close across all sectors. Closing times nearly doubled in the Main Street market, while the Lower Middle Market also saw jumps of up to four months. New this survey, advisors reported on the average time for deals to move from letter of intent (LOI) or offer to closing. In every sector except the smallest, deals took three months to close after a signed LOI.
“Typically the larger the deal, the longer it takes to close,” says Craig Everett, PhD, director of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project. “But the lower middle market has a large number of active buyers, and one way buyers win deals is to show they can close more quickly. As more buyers come to the table, advisors are able to run a more efficient process.”
Deal multiples remain strong, but advisors aren’t optimistic that multiples will climb any higher in 2016. Notably, advisors also suggest market conditions will remain relatively neutral when it comes to debt financing. However, they report some difficulty arranging financing for companies with revenues of $500,000 or less.
“Sometimes sellers hear that a business in their industry got a certain multiple and they want the same number,” added (your last name). “But multiples depend on the size of the business being sold; for Main Street deals the common multiple is based on SDE without working capital (2-3x SDE in 2015) whereas in the lower middle market EBITDA including working capital (4-5x EBITDA in 2015) is the most common multiple type.”
Additional Key Findings:
- Year over year, buyers are increasing their advantage in the Main Street market, particularly for the smallest businesses. Meanwhile, the seller’s market sentiment has improved, year over year, in the Lower Middle Market.
- Main Street businesses sold for approximately 91 percent of their asking price in Q4 2015. By comparison, Lower Middle Market businesses—which typically aren’t marketed with an asking price—received 99.5 percent of the internal benchmark set by the advisor and seller.
- In the smallest deal category (businesses valued at <$500K) first time buyers accounted for the largest buyer segment. In the largest deal category (businesses valued between $5MM to $50MM) private equity made up the largest buyer group. PE groups were not active at all in the <$500K segment, while individual buyers accounted for only 14 percent (7 percent first time buyers, 7 percent repeat owners) of the larger sector.
- Service companies (business and personal) continue to lead Main Street market activity in Q4 2015, with a strong showing in the Lower Middle Market as well. Manufacturing companies led the Lower Middle Market.
About International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) and the M&A Source
Founded in 1983, IBBA is the largest non-profit association specifically formed to meet the needs of people and firms engaged in various aspects of business brokerage, and mergers and acquisitions. The IBBA is a trade association of business brokers providing education, conferences, professional designations and networking opportunities. For more information about IBBA, visit the website at www.ibba.org.
Founded in 1991, the M&A Source promotes professional development of merger and acquisition professionals so that they may better serve their clients’ needs, and maximize public awareness of professional intermediary services available for middle market merger and acquisition transactions. For more information about the M&A Source visit www.masource.org.
About the Pepperdine University Graziadio School for Business and Management
A leader in cultivating entrepreneurship and digital innovation, the Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management focuses on the real-world application of MBA-level business concepts. The Graziadio School provides student-focused, globally-oriented education through part-time, full-time, and executive MBA programs at our eight California campuses, as well as through online and hybrid formats. In addition, the Graziadio School offers a variety of master of science programs, a bachelor of science in management degree-completion program, and the Presidents and Key Executives MBA, as well as executive education certificate programs. Follow the Graziadio School on Facebook, Twitter at @GraziadioSchool , and LinkedIn.