17 August 2023

Unravelling the Secrets of a Successful Company Sale

Negotiating the Deal Step by Step Often Enhances Valuation.

Written by Marian Gerster

Unravelling the Secrets of a Successful Company Sale

The thrilling prospect of selling a company, particularly a medium-sized enterprise, can be a double-edged sword in today’s fast-paced business environment. To ensure a smooth transaction and unlock your company’s full potential, this article explores the three critical components of a successful sale: comprehensive preparation and realistic valuation, the perfect timing for the sale, and the ideal buyer selection, coupled with masterful negotiations.

Laying the Foundation with Thorough Preparation and Realistic Valuation

The groundwork for a successful sale lies in meticulous preparation and an accurate and realistic assessment of your company. Start by assembling a team of experienced advisors, including M&A consultants who can draw in lawyers, tax experts, and accountants as the process advances, guiding you through the complex sales process. Teamwork is indispensable in a transaction; a cooperative approach marked by the principle of "all for one and one for all" will lead to a smoother and more effective result.

During preparation, the due diligence process is organised, and all essential documents are reviewed and evaluated. This includes financial documents, legal agreements like employment, customer and supplier contracts, corporate resolutions, and the operating conditions of your business. A thorough preparation of the due diligence process will uncover hidden obstacles that could negatively affect the sale price or transaction security, allowing you to address them directly and discuss your sales process communication strategy with your advisors.

Timing is Everything - Identifying the Right Moment to Sell

When it comes to selling a company, timing can significantly influence the success of the sale. To pinpoint the perfect moment to sell, consider both internal and external factors.

Internally, assess your company's performance, growth trajectory, and competitive position in the market. Are revenues rising, and is there a clear strategy for future expansion? Are there impending challenges that could negatively affect your company’s performance? If your company is in a robust position, the stars may align for a favourable sale. However, it's essential to have future plans and showcase further potential, often a key focus for prospective buyers. Externally, evaluate the overall market conditions and the M&A climate in your industry. Are there favourable economic conditions, such as low-interest rates and strong market demand? Are there industry trends or potential regulatory shifts that could influence your company's value? If the external landscape is flourishing, a seller's market may arise, opening a significant window for a sale. By carefully weighing these factors, you'll be well-equipped to make an informed decision about the ideal time to sell your company and maximise the transaction's value.

Selecting the Right Buyer and the Art of Negotiation

The final phase of the sales process is selecting the right buyer and the sale negotiations - a crucial step that can determine the success of your transaction. Approach this phase with a strategic and professional mindset.

Begin by identifying potential buyers who complement your company regarding culture, growth potential, and synergies. M&A advisors assist in developing a targeted list of suitable acquirers (the long list), approaching them confidentially and professionally to gauge interest and ensure that your company is presented to the right audience. Be prepared to share detailed information about your business operations, financial performance, and growth strategies. Transparency in this phase is critical as it enables potential buyers to make informed decisions and minimises the risk of surprises later on.

Once you have decided on one or more parties, the actual negotiations begin. During negotiations, you should find a balance between flexibility and unwavering commitment to essential contract terms. Remember that the highest bidder may not always be the best partner for your business; considering the long-term impact of the takeover on your employees, customers, and overall business is crucial. Maintain open communication and build trust with potential buyers during the negotiation process. This not only accelerates the transaction but also paves the way for a smooth transition to subsequent processes. Use your M&A advisor as a conduit to the buyer during challenging phases. They will be less involved after the negotiations, whereas you will depend on a good relationship with the buyer during the transition period.

After selecting a buyer, work closely with your M&A advisor to finalise the contract terms and navigate the closing process. This may involve negotiating critical contract conditions such as the purchase price, payment structure, and warranty catalogue. Staying engaged and involved throughout the entire closing process is vital to ensure a successful outcome.


Selling a company is a complex process requiring strategic planning, thorough preparation, and targeted execution. By adhering to these key principles and relying on expert support, you can achieve a successful sale and realise the true value of your company.

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