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Business Broker Or Merger And Acquisition Advisor For Selling Your Business?
By Mark Waltzer
Most businessmen sell a only once or twice in their lifetime. Selling a may be the most difficult task for a businessman who might have taken years to build a profitable and reputable business. When he puts it up for sale, he hopes to recover the price for all that he has put into it. Selling a can be profitable decision or one that can result in the loss of one’s life’s work. It is advisable for businessmen to hire professionals for selling their business. If your falls into the mid-market category and you aim to drive a strategic deal out of your sale, you will require an expert merger and acquisition advisor. But if your belongs to the Main Street and you just want to get the best price for it, you might need a broker. Below, we discuss some of the differences between the two professionals, which can help one decide whom to hire for selling a business.
• Type of Business
Business brokers specialize in what are called main street businesses, which could be in the range of $100,000 to 1,000,000 in revenues and include businesses like restaurants, dry cleaners, gas stations, convenience stores etc. M&A advisors usually take on businesses with larger turnover, like manufacturing units, technology firms, distributors etc. If the to be sold is amongst main street businesses, the services of a broker to sell the would be appropriate, whereas if it is larger, then the services of a merger and acquisition advisor would be needed.
• Targeted Buyer
Business brokers target individual businessmen for selling a business, whereas M&A advisors are connected with corporate buyers, who seek a strategic reason behind a merger or an acquisition.
• Business Valuation
Business brokers generally apply “rule of the thumb” valuations for main street businesses to determine their selling price. Such valuations rarely vary. Merger and acquisition advisors are called in when there can be a broad interpretation of strategic value and rules of thumb do not apply. Large businesses generally have high components of niche services, intellectual properties, strong customer base etc, which make the strategic value for the vary widely.
• Complexity of Transaction
Business brokers handle small businesses to sell and their clients consist of individuals. The process of selling the is simpler as compared to larger corporations.
Contracts for small businesses are straightforward and negotiations are based on the requirements of the seller, price and financing. For a merger and acquisition advisor, the target is a corporate buyer, who is an expert at M&A deals. Corporate buyers have different teams working for them like legal experts, investment bankers, valuation professionals etc. and their contracts are extremely complex. A corporate buyer sends in teams to conduct due diligence and examine the to sell in detail. Hence if the to sell is a large corporation, the seller will need a merger and acquisition advisor, who is equipped and experienced to negotiate with such pros.
• Volume of Clients
Business brokers represent as many businesses for sale as they can. For brokers, it is a benefit to have many businesses listed with them when they are contacting individual buyers. brokers rely on mass email a campaign, posting on websites etc. and their attention is divided amongst many clients at one point of time. Merger and acquisition advisors, on the other hand, have an exclusive clientele of 3 to 4 clients per professional. With specific industry niches and a customized database of contacts, merger and acquisition advisors give their clients the personal and professional touch that they demand.
Business brokers have a system of a minimum upfront fee plus around 10% of the transaction fee on completion of a successful deal. They do not charge monthly fees. Merger and acquisition advisors, on the other hand, charge a substantial upfront fee or a monthly fee in the range of $3000 to $10,000 per month. M&A advisors also charge a percentage of transaction value as fees on completion of the deal, which is decided on basis of the size of the business. Big Wall Street M&A companies are known to refuse transactions below $1 million in fees.
Based on the points made above, you can decide whether to hire a broker or an M&A advisor for selling your business. The major deciding factor will be the cost that you are willing to incur. Keep in mind that if you have a small to sell, it will not be able to sustain substantial upfront as well as monthly fees of the merger and acquisition advisor. Hence it would be better to go for a broker. Go for a merger and acquisition advisor only if you need to sell a large corporation with high intellectual property and niche services.
For more tips on selling a business or if planning to sell a business, check out tips of business for sale and business valuation. Find expert business brokers and mergers and acquisitions for investment banking services in USA.