Properly planning to sell a business usually involves a lot more than finding a buyer and negotiating terms for the sale. Prior to seeking a buyer, a company will often benefit from addressing one or more of the following matters: ownership structure; tax planning; intellectual property rights; real estate leases; and contractual relationships. The key is to build a solid foundation for a successful sale. You do not want to start negotiating with a potential buyer only to find out there is a problem in your business that will reduce its value, particularly if it is a problem that could have been resolved with advance planning.
We have advised numerous business owners on how to best position their companies for a sale. Sometimes that involves changing the ownership structure or granting stock options to better incentivize people who will be instrumental for a successful transaction. That also may involve buying out owners who are no longer actively participating in the business and would prefer to exit the company before a sale of the business may be completed at a later date. Obtaining sound legal and accounting advice will also help determine the most tax efficient transaction structure and potentially save a significant amount in taxes. Reviewing the company’s intellectual property portfolio can help identify ways to better protect it and make it more valuable to a buyer. You should also review real property leases and other important contractual relationships, particularly with key customer and vendors, to assess if any contracts should be terminated, extended or otherwise modified to make the company more attractive to potential buyers.
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