If you’ve followed my writing this year, you know I’m concerned about the huge upcoming transition of privately owned businesses, and particularly those that will not involve a generational transfer, i.e., they will be sold if the owner plans properly, or liquidated if the owner doesn’t. A big area of that planning involves the many legal issues that will come up, both before, during and after any successful transaction. A long-time associate of our firm is an attorney with a focus on helping buyers and sellers deal with the legal issues leading up to that transition. Mary Hanson has an excellent newsletter that she has written for years, and one issue earlier this year resonated with me. Entitled “Steps for Selling a Business,” she gives good advice about many of the issues that will need to be thought about, planned for, and resolved for the selling business owner to avoid sellers’ remorse. Tax advice (ahead of time, please), selling assets vs. stock, purchase price allocation and LOIs (Letters of Intent), are among the topics in this useful article, which you can read at http://bizadvisor.com/pdf/BusinessAdvisor.MaryHanson.February2014.StepsforSellingaBusiness.pdf.
Of course, identifying the issue and having it comfortably resolved can be yards apart, which is why you need a good M&A attorney as well as a seasoned CFO or financial adviser. Your team will take the overwhelm out of the game, and help you get the best deal possible – assuming you have planned ahead and assembled the right players soon enough for them to do what they do best. I firmly believe that the first people on that team should be your trusted lawyer and your company’s financial adviser. Your lawyer may not be the M&A person you’ll need to do the deal, but they know you and you trust them, and that’s a good start for an event like this. Your financial adviser is far more critical, in my view, because that’s the person who understands your company’s finances, its strengths and weaknesses, and can help you do the advance due diligence to know what to expect when the serious buyers arrive. The two of you will have the best chance to build the value of the company to all it can be before you put it on the market. Besides, your financial adviser and your attorney will between them have the contacts to help you assemble the rest of the team when it’s time.
So when should you start? Read Ms Hanson’s article and some of my recent posts at https://www.cfoforrent.com/blog/. Then call me. 888.788.6534.
As always, I welcome your feedback and comments.