Buying & Selling Businesses – Financing gone amuck

November 22, 2009

Certainly in the art of buying and selling businesses, financing can be a key component, perhaps one of the larger features needing attention, often of both buyer and seller.  This year of economic downturn, financing has become in some cases very complex and in others much more simple.  The latter “simple” is reflective of the ONLY way a buyer will be financed is with a willing buyer.  Typically when I meet with a seller one of the first things I suggest is “a typical seller is having to finance 2/3 of the sales price.”  This comment is usually right on the heels of the prospective seller saying “I won’t finance anything.”

In a recent negotiation between buyer and seller, the seller was willing to finance but only with certain conditions.  The buyer had gone to, not one, but three banks.  SBA financing was not available for this deal and any deal, no matter how soundly the business had performed historically, because the sales have been down the last couple of years, likely due to the economy.  There is absolutely no indication that they will continue to be down as the economy turns around, in fact it appears the sales have already begun to turn the corner.  It is not enough for SBA.

A recent article on business buying and selling, specifically about SBA at http://albuquerque.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/stories/2009/11/16/daily51.html?ana=from_rss suggests incentives to encourage small business are being dropped.

All of this suggests that entrepreneurs will need to be yet more flexible on both sides of the deal.

Have you had any success suggesting otherwise?

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