Belfast Telegraph

How to get the top price for your firm

Question: I am thinking about selling my business. What is the best way to approach this?

Alan Branagh, business manager, BCMS Corporate, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, responds:

Remember, selling your business is not an accounting issue, it is a selling issue.

Passivity is the greatest enemy and can be the ‘kiss of death’. At BCMS we take a pro-active approach to selling and marketing your company.

We actively identify and approach prospective acquirers to enable you to sell your company for its maximum value. It’s not just a matter of business assets, turnover or profitability — it’s what someone is willing to pay.

Maximum value could be based on future earning potential, your skilled workforce, your location or what synergy could exist with other businesses in other sectors. The key is in finding those buyers.

There are buyers out there — you just need to know how to identify and target them. At BCMS Corporate, we have a database of over 50m companies worldwide that we would target for you. It only requires one successful bid to acquire a business. However, at BCMS our approach is geared to identifying more than one strategically motivated acquirer.

This will require focused research to identify the highest number of interested parties.

Your business is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Therefore you must inject competitiveness into the bidding process. More competition will obviously fuel a bidding situation and if you went through BCMS you would typically expect the highest bid to be 2.5 times the lowest bid.

Confidentiality is an essential part of the process and we require every potential acquirer to sign a non-disclosure agreement and all approaches must be approved by you. You should never negotiate with a buyer by yourself.

Here at BCMS we assign specialists to your case. Key to this is the deal leader who works on your behalf.

They walk with you through every part of the process — from initial research, potential acquirer meetings, offer structure and negotiation, due diligence, the legal process and deal close.

Belfast Telegraph