Solomon & Hoover CPAs, PLLC Blog - Financial Guidance to Help Your Business Succeed

Solomon & Hoover CPAs, PLLC Blog

Financial Guidance to Help Your Business Succeed

How to handle an unsolicited acquisition offer

Posted by admin On July 10th

BMSsu13_3How to handle an unsolicited acquisition offer

Emily wasn’t planning to sell her small software company — until a competitor approached her with what sounded like a once-in-a-lifetime offer. Tempted to say “yes” on the spot, Emily instead contacted a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) specialist.

That was a smart move. Although unsolicited acquisition offers are fairly common — and some represent excellent opportunities — caution is warranted. Anyone might approach you, and if your company isn’t already on the market, you probably aren’t in the position to screen buyers or evaluate offers. An M&A advisor can help you determine whether a bidder is serious and whether selling now is in your best interest.

Screening bidders

Unless you understand your company’s value in the current market, you can’t possibly decide whether a bid is fair. Your advisor will appraise your business, which includes reviewing its financial statements, assets and intellectual property and researching recent sales of similar companies in your industry.

It’s also important to know your bidder’s acquisition strategy. Does the buyer operate strategically and pursue only those companies that offer cost synergies and whose products and services complement its own? This type of buyer is more likely to pay a higher-than-market rate for an acquisition it really wants. Or is the bidder interested in buying your company as cheaply as possible so it can resell it in a couple of years? These “financial” buyers are less likely to negotiate on price.

True intentions

To ensure an unsolicited buyer can put its money where its mouth is, your advisor will find out whether it’s well capitalized or overleveraged. If the buyer doesn’t have the cash to make an acquisition, it needs to qualify for bank financing — which can be tough in the current market.

Your advisor can also help you screen for fraud and unfair dealing. A buyer might have a history of trying to snap up businesses on the cheap or through hostile bids, or it may be known for not honoring preliminary agreements. It’s usually best to walk away from such buyers.

Happy ending

In the end, Emily learned that her business was worth more than her unsolicited bidder was offering. With the help of her M&A advisor, she prepared for sale and approached several other potential buyers — one of which made Emily an acquisition offer she happily accepted. •

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