We were recently asked by a client if current market conditions are right for the sale of his company. There are two parts to the question: “current market conditions” and “for his company.” The primary driver of the decision should be an analysis of his particular, unique business. Current market conditions are an external driver of his company's performance and also impact the price a buyer will pay for his company, but they are only one factor of many factors that impact business valuation and timing for a sale.
What is a 338 Election? How would I use it when I sell my business? In a typical acquisition (using an S-corporation as an example), the seller seeks to maximize capital gains, on which they pay a lower tax rate, and the buyer seeks to maximize the present value of tax deductions. While this may be desired, there may be a need to effect the transaction as a stock deal rather than an asset deal.
When a business owner is asked who the most likely buyer is for their business, they will typically have a fairly good idea who the most likely candidates are, which normally fits one of the following profiles: i) a competitor who can’t access your market, client base, lacks certain proprietary differentiators or some other motivation; ii) a strategic buyer who would love to buy your technology, unique products, service, patents, intellectual capital, team, or maybe your reputation in the marketplace; or iii) the private equity group that has been courting you for years, or maybe even; iv) the Senior Manager in your Company who’s worked for you for 20 years and who, with the right financial backer, could buy, manage and grow the business.
This is an interesting question and the answer has certainly changed over the years. Whereas synergies may have previously been credited entirely to the buyer’s benefit post closing, the trend has been for buyers to pay an increasing premium to sellers for some of the shared future synergies. In most strategic deals, there is now more…
The U.S. economy is at a critical intersection. Privately-held businesses have long been the driving force of the economy, and are now in a period of transition that has been building up for the last 50 years. Baby boomers own an unprecedented number of businesses and hold an unprecedented proportion of U.S. private wealth. Having propelled the booming U.S. economy since the early 1990s, baby boomers have now reached their peak in the consumer spending cycle.
November 30, 2012: Q3 2012 Baby Boomers and Their Businesses. Implications for Mergers and Acquisitions in 2013 and Beyond.
We’re just coming off the back of a month when the Dow Jones lost almost 10%. Should this mean anything to you if you were planning to sell your business? We should try to separate perception and reality; future expectations and historical performance and discuss how they intersect.
These brief tips are all intended to maximize the purchase price, ensure an efficient sale process and increase the likelihood of closing a deal the first time and on time.
Private equity has been in a lot of headlines lately … and many of those for the wrong reasons. Mitt Romney, a private equity success story, has brought unprecedented attention to the industry, amid political and public calls for sweeping changes to the tax treatment of their earnings; in an economic climate that has already hurt many private equity firms. In spite of all the negative press, a recent survey by CFO.com, along with Rothstein Kass, has revealed a positive outlook from those in the business; at least according to their survey responses
If you are considering selling your business in 2012, you need to consider the full sale process, from start to finish. Oftentimes, a business owner has so many other commitments and so little time, that they focus on the front-end of the sale process and work through the later stage of the process when the time comes. What we’re talking about today is why it is critical to consider the complete sale process at the outset and we’ll talk through some common mistakes and potential consequences.
we’ll discuss some of the lesser known, but frequent challenges that can occur when selling a company. While most are avoidable, they can still be tricky issues to navigate in a business sale process.
According to participants in yesterday’s Bricktown Capital Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma has a need for more robust venture capital, nurture capital and in some cases private equity, when an entrepreneur needs between $1 million and $5 million to fuel the growth of their business. For any higher amounts, out of state capital is targeting Oklahoma companies, and for amounts below $1 million, there are small business grants, loans, incentives, family money and even bootstrapping that can provide the required capital. It is the critical gap in between where we need to focus our efforts.
Numerous studies have shown that a more efficient and better managed dataroom, disclosure and due diligence process can lead to higher acquisition prices and higher closing success rates for the sellers of midsized companies.
In the last year, huge numbers of loans were refinanced on the back of competition among lenders to sell money and attractive loan pricing. As a result, many CFOs have now refinanced, put their loan documents away and will revisit them in a few years when it’s time to renew. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy anymore; in particular in a sluggish and faltering economy, as your creditors keep a closer eye on all the covenants of your loan.
How is it possible to make an acquisition valuation based only upon earnings multiples in disparate economic environments and business climates? And how heavily should we rely upon “standard” earnings multiples for comparable transactions in an industry?
In April and May, commercial and industrial lending was strong, companies were opening up new revolvers and refinancing at reduced rates. Banks were allowing extended maturities and were eager to put money to work; so much so, that some banks were loosening lending standards to offer favorable terms to those with less than strong credits.
First, a couple of thoughts on earnouts when you sell your business. While an earnouts is often seen as a mechanism to defer payment of the purchase price; if used correctly, it should in fact be consideration to the seller of a company over and above full cash paid at closing. Earnouts should not be considered part of the purchase price if/until they materialize and are paid to the seller, but why not set additional opportunities to increase the purchase price paid, over and above the full cash price paid? If “x” is the maximum that a buyer will pay for a company in cash at closing, it is still possible to negotiate “x” at closing, plus an additional 25-50% or more after closing. As with most things in life and business, it is not the tool that is at fault, it is the way that it can be misused and misunderstood.
Well, this may seem a strange day to write about inflation – I just read this morning that fixed-rate mortgage rates have dropped this week to the lowest level this year, with a 15-year available at 3.75%. However, it doesn’t do much good to dwell on the past or present – we should always be considering other scenarios in the future to stay ahead of the competition.
April 25, 2011. The positive start for Oklahoma and Midwest mergers and acquisitions activity in 2011 is gaining strength and momentum. Higher prices, cash at closing, more deals getting done. Click "More" below to read this article.
April 11, 2011. We are going to consider the reasons behind the likely reduction in number of banks in Oklahoma and some of the implications. Is there anything that can be done to preserve more small, regional banks or is this change inevitable?
If Oklahoma follows the national trend, there is likely to be consolidation in Oklahoma’s regional and community banks. At the same time, we would expect some of Oklahoma’s banks to double or triple in size in the coming years. We’re going to consider the reasons behind this and some of the implications.
How do you determine where to start in a new strategic business project? In simple terms, you need to be in clear and detailed agreement among all stakeholders on where you are and where you want to get to before you start planning how you want to get there. Clear communication between a Company’s senior management and their advisors is also critical. If we’re engaged on a M&A, restructuring or corporate finance project, there is a lot at stake and this blog highlights some of our planning considerations.
What happens when an unexpected winter storm hits your deal and what can be done to prevent this happening? If you can’t prevent it, how do you reduce the negative impact? In the same way as with this historic winter storm that hit our region, you may not be able to prevent it, but at least with the storm we had meteorologists predicting significant snowfall before it happened. We may have thought they were exaggerating the extent of the storm a few days out, but by the day before, most people had acknowledged that it was going to be severe and took the necessary precautions. Can you imagine the impact if we hadn’t had any forecast and preparation time in advance?
January 28, 2011. Dealmaking is back on the agenda as CEOs step up the hunt for ways to put a multitrillion-dollar cash pile to work, triggering the busiest January for M&A in 11 years.
Whether each state offers incentives to attract businesses to relocate or remain in their state is largely a by-product of the incentives offered by competing states. If other states offer incentives, the logic is that Oklahoma has to in order to compete. And I’m not going to argue against that. Much has already been written on this topic, but today we are going to focus on a different angle: the accountability for those companies and investors that receive funds or assistance from our state. Perhaps there would be universal approval for state funded incentives by Oklahoma if the public could have greater confidence in the economic benefit to our state of the use of those funds. Here are some thoughts on ways to increase the effectiveness of the incentives and improve public perception and support.
You may wonder how an extended recession can be positive for your business. What can be good about weak industry performance, more competition for less orders and a tougher environment to secure debt or equity investment? Well, every cloud has a silver lining. So here’s an alternative point of view.
For those Private Equity Groups (PEGs) that own a strong portfolio company with high earnings and relatively low debt, they are increasingly turning towards dividend recapitalizations rather than selling ownership in their portfolio company in the short-term.
In a merger, acquisition or sale process, there are likely to be considerable volumes of confidential information that need to be exchanged between the buyer and seller. This is reasonable, normal and essential to a successful M&A process. Make sure, however, that anyone who is given access to any confidential information is bound by the terms of a comprehensive confidentiality agreement before they receive any information. In a professional sale process of a privately-held company, this should be before you even share the name of the company that is for sale.
From the storm clouds of rising bankruptcies, Oklahoma recently had a silver lining. Last week, we read about the positive news that bankruptcy filings in our state fell below the national average. In 2009, there were 3.85 nonbusiness bankruptcy filings in Oklahoma per 1,000 people, compared to 4.73 for the US as a whole, according to US Justice Department figures. And this really is good news. Oklahoma has performed better through this recession than most other states and we have confidence that our state can also perform better coming out of this recession.
Midsized regional US banks are being hurt the most by commercial real estate woes and it’s only likely to get worse. According to a study released last week by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Commercial Real Estate (CRE) exposure represents 50% of the outstanding loans at midsized and smaller regional banks. And at seven banks shut down by the FDIC in the last couple of weeks, CRE represented 80% of the nonperforming loans. That’s a very bleak picture given what we’re about to discuss. While at a national level, CRE exposure makes up only 10% of total bank loans, the impact on regional banks has a major impact on small and midsized businesses that depend on them for capital.
Companies are currently sitting on more cash than at any other time in the last 50 years. Cash and other short-term assets now account for 7% of all assets at non-financial US companies. If you exclude finance firms, US companies held $1.8 trillion in cash and short-term assets at the end of the first quarter, which is 26% higher than the same time last year and represents the biggest increase since the Federal Reserve started tracking cash levels in the 1950s. According to a recent CFO magazine survey and article, companies within the CFO Midcap 1500 (companies with $100 million to $1 billion in annual sales) are holding 15% more cash in 2010 than the same period two years ago.
Before, during and after any business acquisition, there are many variables to consider, one of which is the tax implication of the sale from both the buyer’s and seller’s perspective. In this case, we are talking about the treatment of intangible assets.
July 9, 2010. 39% Rise in M&A in 2010. 89% Expect M&A Volumes to Increase. ClearRidge Blog @ Journal Record Blog Hub. This blog is part of our weekly commentary for Oklahoma's Statewide daily business newspaper.
According to a recent article in CFO magazine, the Bank for International Settlements, "the bank for central banks," issued its annual report published Monday. The article "Banks Not Out of the Woods" highlighted several points about the state of banks in the US:
According to a recent CFO Magazine report, 2009 was one of the worst years ever for working capital performance, as companies were slow to adjust to the recession. Reviewing the 1,000 largest US public companies, average days working capital (DWC) jumped 8% in 2009 to 38 days, from 35 days in 2008. In round numbers, receivables were 10% higher in 2009, matched by an 11% increase in days payable. Coupled with companies replenishing inventories after 2008 and those holding unsellable product in 2009, days inventory outstanding (DIO) rose by 9%. This may not sound much, but further down the line to smaller privately held companies, less efficient financial management can exacerbate the problem.
For the last 18 months, ClearRidge has published reports projecting that business lending will continue to worsen long after the end of the recession. History shows that to be true after every recession in the last century.