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Federal Tax Kicker

By Dave Kauppi

We are often contacted by a business owner after he has been approached by a buyer. He wants information form us on the merger and acquisition process, which we are happy to provide. He wants to wait, however, to engage our firm to sell his company "until this situation with the buyer plays itself out."

This is the start of the death spiral. I don't want to sound overly dramatic, but this rarely has a happy ending. These supposed buyers will drain your time, resources, focus on running your business and, your company's performance. They want to buy your business as the only bidder and get a big discount. They will kick your tires, kick your tires, and kick your tires some more.

If they finally get to an offer after months of this resource drain, it, to the surprise or chagrin of the owner, is woefully short of expectations. A second potential outcome is that when the offer does come, the owner doesn't know if it is a good or bad offer. Finally, once the buyer has tied up the owner with the LOI, he then proceeds to attack transaction value through every step of due diligence. He is the only suitor so there is nothing to stop bad behavior.

This is so costly to the business owner. Many owners repeat this process several times before they acknowledge the damage being done to their business. When they do eventually hire a merger and acquisition firm or a business broker, the company value has eroded substantially.

Even though we have watched this situation unfold from a distance many times, we have been frustrated by our lack of success in changing the owner's incurable optimism about this buyer. Being the deal guys that we are, we needed to come up with a creative solution and a deal structure to move the business owner toward a better outcome. If we feel so strongly that this buyer will not be the actual buyer in the end, we should be willing to "carve out" that buyer in the form of a discounted success fee.

By George, that's it! If an owner has an identified buyer, we can incorporate a sliding scale discount on the success fee over time if this identified buyer becomes the actual buyer. If he becomes the actual buyer very quickly the discount is big. If the deal closes after five months of our M&A work, the discount has slid to zero because we have thrown him into the mix with several other qualified buyers and his offer will have been leveraged higher by 25% or more.

The benefits to the business owner with this approach are meaningful. First, if this is that rare occurrence of a legitimate buyer with a legitimate offer, the owner will not pay a big success fee for a small amount of work. Secondly, the owner can turn the burden of the process over to the M&A firm, freeing him up to successfully run his business during the process. Next, we end the endless, resource draining, tire kicking that erodes business value. Finally, by changing this from an auction of one to a truly competitive bidding situation involving the universe of qualified buyers, the owner will have no doubt that he got the best the market had to offer for his business.

Article Source: www.ArticlesBase.com

Dave Kauppi is a business broker and President of MidMarket Capital. We help business owners with all aspects of Mergers and Acquisitions.