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Merit Investment Bank M&A Axioms

by | December 10, 2020 | Owner Considerations, M&A Education & Market, M&A, Sell-side

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Time and time again we see M&A Axioms coming into play for business owners.  We hope this list helps you ask some timely questions of your organization and your investment banker as you contemplate liquidity options.  Enjoy!

  • Time kills all deals
  • If you have one buyer, you have no buyers
  • Think, Know, Prove / Trust but Verify
  • There are only 2 buyer emotions: Fear & Greed
  • Sell on the way up, not on the way down
  • You cannot time the market, but you can be prepared for market moves
  • After you sign the LOI the negotiating power goes to the buyer.
  • 99% of pre-emptive offers are offered at a discount to the market
  • If a buyer does not sell by age 70 – high likelihood, they will not sell
  • On average. sellers overvalue their companies by 59% (Mass Mutual Study)
  • Every deal dies 3 times!
  • 4 D’s – death, disability, divorce, & disagreement (partner)
  • Deal is not done until the deals done! Do not count your chickens or take foot off the gas
  • Buyer and seller are never truly aligned until the check clears (escrow and earn-out released)
  • Selling to a strategic is like turning and battleship – On their time, not yours
  • Businesses are bought not sold
  • Due diligence is Difficult – How difficult? Twice as much as you imagined – unless well prepared
  • An entrepreneur who tries to sell their company his / herself has a fool for a client 
  • Due diligence is a two-way street
  • Customer concentration kills deals
  • Deal killer in M&A is a seller’s value expectation vs. what the market is willing to pay.
  • Deal killer is weak, vague or inaccurate financial reports and controls
  • Financial Buyers can be unimaginative – Give them a path forward and proforma, way to say yes.
  • Best Time to sell? Trifecta of M&A – Personally ready, Business is ready and market Hot!
  • What is the definition of a valuable company? One that does not need you to run it!
  • We all leave our companies one way or another. Horizontally or Vertically – You Decide!
  • When to sell – on the way up!
  • When to sell – 55 years old when achievement and risk aversion are in line
  • Your acquirer will likely fall between 5x – 20x your revenues – “The 5x – 20x rule” 
  • Always leave a little squeeze in the orange for the next guy when selling your company