The sale of a business is typically the single-most significant event in an owner’s business life. As most owners have never sold a business, any apprehension is understandable. If you are contemplating or preparing for the sale of your company, we believe it’s critical to understand the typical components of a deal so that you will be ready to embark upon this journey.
In this blog series, 10 Major Steps in Selling a Business, we examine the important elements common across most sales in collection agency M&A through a case study of a previous transaction our firm completed. We will call the selling company “Company, Inc.” to preserve confidentiality. The third part of the series explains how to proceed once buyers begin to submit their respective offers. Part two and three, Preparing to Sell and Engaging Buyers, are linked.
Receive Offers/Letters of Intent
After receiving answers to their questions, interested buyers will be asked to submit an offer to acquire the company, indicating the price and terms that the buyer is willing to pay, any contingencies to a closing, and their funding capabilities. To accomplish this, some submit a letter of intent (LOI), which often has a legal format to it. Others might submit a less formal offer, either verbally or in writing, that simply indicates the price and terms but omits any “legalese.” In either case, the offer is non-binding and is subject to confirmatory due diligence of the company information already received.
For Company, Inc., we received a total of six offers, which is an impressive amount in any deal, and particularly this one, given the limited group that we approached. Increased competition among buyers always ensures that the seller will receive maximum value. Three of the offers we received were in LOI format and the other three were verbal.
Conduct Management Meetings
If multiple offers are received, the seller should conduct in-person meetings – or, at the very least, lengthy virtual meetings – to evaluate potential buyers and determine the best candidate. These meetings are critical in collection agency M&A because they give the seller the opportunity to fully explain the company’s performance, growth potential, profitability, and vision, which can help increase the company value to the buyer. These management meetings also allow owners who may stay on with the business in some capacity assess the culture fit with the new organization.
Of course, the buyer is also making an evaluation of the company during these meetings. It is customary during this phase for the seller to provide updated financial or other information necessary for the buyers to fine-tune their offers.
After these meetings, buyers may submit a “best and final” offer and may be invited to visit the office in order to do this. The seller may negotiate with multiple buyers, but, ultimately, the seller will select one buyer with which to move ahead and close the transaction.
The selling process often lasts four to six months, sometimes shorter, sometimes longer, depending on either side’s focus on the transaction. Fortunately, Kaulkin Ginsberg can help you navigate those choppy waters. We have worked with small, mid-sized, and large privately-owned companies, Fortune 500 corporations, and financial investment firms on their collection agency M&A strategies for thirty years. Whether you’re seeking professional sell-side representation, assistance forming a partnership or joint venture, a transaction assessment, or a valuation, Kaulkin Ginsberg will guide you through the process. For more information, or to schedule a confidential discussion of your business goals, contact us here or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for the rest of this 10-part series.