FAQs from Business Sellers and Buyers
Am I getting the best price for this business?
We don’t do valuations, but we can introduce you to several people who can! Essentially, your business is worth what somebody will pay for it, and it will be worth different sums to different people. An independent buyer who’s looking for a business to run as a ‘project’ will generally pay less. The most profitable buyers are usually those for whom your business allows them to leverage their existing assets and generate more value than could be created from your business alone.
How do I deal with all this stuff while running a business and keeping it secret from my staff?
Our role as confidante and coach during this process will help keep you sane. For most business owners, managing a sale or purchase while staying on top of ‘business as usual’ is a huge challenge. We’ll help you create your M&A support team to minimise the impact, but it’s still going to be tough for you. Ideally, you should ensure the business is in a position where you are not personally essential to its day to day operation. If you’re able to leave the everyday management activities to your management team, you’ll find it much easier to focus on this deal without burning out.
How does this process work?
Each deal is different, but there are some key activities that form part of the great majority of M&A deals. We’ll talk you through them at the beginning, so you can be as well prepared as possible.
How long will it take?
We have completed a deal within 8 weeks, where the buyer and seller were absolutely focussed on meeting their deadline. It’s more common for a deal to take 3-6 months. There are various contributors to how long it takes to complete a sale/purchase, which we’ll discuss with you in more detail.
Am I doing this right?
There is no absolute ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when it comes to M&A, but there are definitely things that will improve or worsen your negotiating position and outcomes! We’ll work with you to ascertain what you want and need to achieve through this deal. Then we can guide you in your negotiations to give you the best chance of achieving that. Sometimes you’ll need to shelve your immediate emotional reactions in pursuit of the greater goal. We’ll coach you through that, to maximise your chances of getting the deal you want.
I love the idea of doing this transaction without having to use a solicitor – but is it legal?
Yes! We have carried out many transactions, both within the UK and with international buyers, and have worked with sales and acquisitions in a variety of sectors. We’ve negotiated successfully with lawyers from large US corporations, City law firms and local solicitors. The only things we can’t do for you are conveyancing on property (in an asset sale), and holding funds – so in our transactions, the buyer usually pays the seller(s) direct.
Have I got a reasonable deal (on the legal terms)?
The legal terms of your company sale or purchase are only one part of the deal as a whole, and need to be assessed together with everything else. We’ll work with you to establish your personal/company risk tolerance and also to determine how ‘real’ the risks in the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) are. Using this information, we’ll support you in negotiating the best possible deal on the legal terms to meet all of your needs. So, for example, you might be happy accepting a risk that looks dreadful on paper because you know that the actual probability of it crystallising is negligible. Alternatively, you might prefer to trade less money up-front for greater certainty that it’s all yours and you won’t be liable for problems arising post-deal. Our job is to look at the whole picture and get you the deal that delivers against your requirements. And if for any reason we don’t believe this is achievable (if, for example, you’re expecting the other party to take all the risk AND pay you top dollar), we’ll let you know!
How much will this transaction cost me?
Our fees for supporting an M&A transaction could be anywhere between £8,000 and £80,000. They’ll depend on the complexity of the deal, the relationship between buyer and seller, the complexity and sale-readiness of the business being acquired and the risk tolerance of each party, as well as the scope of work you’d like us to address. We can talk this through in more detail, and give you a better idea based on the specifics of your deal. We have a pricing model to suit all deal sizes, including the option of having some of our fee structured as a contingency/success fee to help you manage your risk and cash flow.
Who do I bring into my ‘inner circle’?
There will be some people in your team whose help and support will be essential in completing the transaction. We’ll help you decide whether to bring them into the deal or to create a ‘smokescreen’ project to explain the work you need them to do.
Who do I trust to give me honest, impartial advice?
You can trust Devant. We always act in your best interests, and will tell it like it is, even if that’s uncomfortable for you or for us!
We feel it’s really important that we get on well and reflect the things that matter most to you. Let’s discuss how your values and ours align, to see if we’re the right fit for you.