It’s important for the seller to be informed about what the current market pricing is for similarly situated companies, and what the components of that price are. A thorough review of comparable market transactions will include an understanding of which specific metrics support the most attractive multiples in the market. (and the more recent the better.) This begins with customer acquisition costs and resulting lifetime value and may include earnings as a percent of sales, revenue growth over time, sustained growth rates, sales per employee and other industry-specific metrics. Investment bankers and industry trade groups are good sources of this kind of information, for instance.
基于这些事实，发展买家对您公司的看法。 如果卖方在这里有任何疑问，请考虑进行卖方的收益质量分析。这将帮助您通过卖方查看收入's point of view.
If financials are not “clean” this is a great time for sellers to remove extraneous expenses and balance sheet items, such as shareholder loans, non-operating assets, and the like. If possible avoid major adjustments on the P&L. This may mean operating for a year or more prior to a sale offering if the seller needs to remove personal items from company expenses. Buyers will look past these items for an excellent company, especially in a competitive situation, but their presence leads to deeper questions about other potential pitfalls and variances.
In today’s acquisition environment, one of the biggest differentiators can be the company’s ability to describe customer acquisition cost and lifetime value objectively. Many companies only allocate marketing budgets based on some percent of sales and don’t adequately differentiate between the cost to get a new customer and the much lower cost to retain them and describe their long term profitability. Buyers who see this data will be more comfortable with growth projections that are based on objective data-driven historical facts.
A sometimes overlooked area is the “holdback,” a portion of the purchase price held in escrow for some agreed to time period. This money is intended to be used to guarantee the accuracy of the seller’s representations and warranties about the business. In a competitive market, and where the purchase prices exceeds $10MM, a seller may consider asking the buyer to purchase insurance to cover this guarantee. It’s expensive (2% to 5% of the holdback, generally) and comes with an underwriting fee in the mid five figures. It also has limits as a percentage of the purchase price (10% in many cases), and may not eliminate the need to hold back a portion of the proceeds as well. However, it helps assure the holdback will be returned as the underwriting requirement brings a lot of objectivity to the holdback negotiation.
If the seller who would own reinvested equity is leaving the company post transaction, and is being asked to take some or all of the proceeds in stock, a clear understanding of the terms of the new equity is essential. If the new owners have the ability to dilute the stock in the future, or in other ways reduce future economic benefit, it is important to seek agreement about how the equity will be redeemed, under what circumstances, and when. Sellers should be fully acquainted with the risks associated with holding equity, as well as with the potential upside.
There are good reasons for a seller to enter into an exclusivity provision in negotiations. If the seller has seen several offers and has quantitatively-based reason to believe these offers are representative of the market price, is satisfied with the proposed price and terms, and the buyer has demonstrated consistent, documented, trustworthy behavior, a provision to enter into an exclusive negotiating period may reduce burdens on management, speed the transaction and build toward a good relationship. It also potentially reduces information leaks that may be harmful to the company in the event of a busted transaction.
The seller explained that the alternatives were working pretty well and raised the original, previously agreed to, price. The buyer complained, but complied. This was all based on having that real alternative locked and loaded. The seller had also designated one person - not her - to negotiate with the seller. This layer of separation provided time to continue to grow and manage the business free from transaction distraction. Interestingly, it also increased the buyer’s respect for the business and its management.)