Insights & News

What will make you sell up and move on?

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The SME Mergers and Acquisitions marketplace is changing - and not just in terms of deal funding, due diligence and deal structure. The biggest evolution is in the ever-changing profile of those business owners looking to sell their company and their differing reasons for exit.

With 80% of sales being instigated by the company founder, new BCMS research shows that clients remain entrepreneurs, having spent on average 19.7 years in the business.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, is in the evolution of the owner-manager profile. With a new average age of 53.6, business owners considering an exit strategy are definitely getting younger. Traditionally, retirement and change of lifestyle have been the key reasons for sale, but today’s vendors have other ideas too.

15% have grown their business to sell and sense now is the time. 12% state other business interests as a key driver for exit and 9% of shareholders are actually keen to work alongside new acquirers or investors.

For me there is a clear underlying trend. As with many industries, the marketplace is segmenting. The number of reasons why owners would consider an exit strategy is growing, and so are the options open to them. Personal reasons will always play a large part in any decision - after all, selling a business you started from scratch and then nurtured over 20 years is not a decision you take lightly.

The best advisors understand that selling or exiting is not just transactional and a personal approach is essential. The key point here is choice: a one-size-fits-all approach won’t wash in today’s marketplace – and exploring all options is the only way forward.

Dave Rebbettes's picture
Posted Feb 2015
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