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When to Ignore the Market Value for Your Company

“I call you for help selling my business, but you tell me I shouldn’t sell it now. 什么样的经纪人会做这种事?”

里卡多(不是他的真名) retained me to help him evaluate an unsolicited offer 他收到了他的一个顶级供应商的来信. 我们第一次通话时,他说,我不打算卖掉公司, 我们越来越大, 我喜欢我们为客户所做的一切, 我身边的团队是一流的. But I’ve always heard these strategic buyers pay crazy prices, 所以当他们敲门的时候, 我觉得我应该听听他们的意见.”

I assured Ricardo he was doing the right thing to evaluate the idea of selling, but our process would not be to just bargain for the highest price. I wanted to help Ricardo make the right decision, 那可能就是不卖, 即使在收到这个令人瞠目结舌的报价之后.

I get about one call a month from a business owner like Ricardo who needs help sorting through how to handle an unsolicited, 但诱人的提供. 大多数米&顾问(商业经纪人), 投资银行家, 中介机构, whatever you want to call them) get a call like this and immediately send over an engagement agreement hoping to land a nice big client. 这不是我的作风. I spend time with the business owner (at no cost to the business owner) to understand his/her objectives and understand the full context of their decision-making process. 急着卖掉你的公司, 就因为你有个诱人的工作机会, 会是一个短视的财务决定吗.

Every business owner should understand the concept of net present value. 只是说, it is the value today of a business’ projected future cash flows, discounted each year by a rate of interest reflecting the owner’s cost of capital plus risk to be in that business. 现在理解, you can go to the finest business schools in the world and spend years studying this concept.  Here’s how I boiled it down for Ricardo as he evaluated how to respond to the offer for his company. “Let’s evaluate the decision relative to a period of time in the future, say five years. We need to calculate which option makes you the most money: selling now and reinvesting the proceeds for that five-year period, or continuing the run the company then selling in five years?”

现在明白这一点, the net present value of your company is NOT the same as the market value of your company. Net present value describes what the company is worth to you, the owner. Market value describes what the company is worth to somebody else. 这是不言而喻的, even if you get an offer that represents the full market value of your business, 这并不意味着你必须卖掉它. 然而, if you get an offer that represents the net present value of your business, you should think long and hard about why you wouldn’t sell it.

When Ricardo and I did the math on his options, we calculated the net present value of keeping the business to be about 20% more than the value of the eye-popping offer. 所以我们做了什么? I met with the potential buyer and calmly explained our thinking. 这要容易得多, less contentious process than the usual card-playing negotiation that is more like shadow-boxing than logic. Side note, let me assure you, logic always works with smart buyers.

After my conversation with the potential buyer, they came back with an offer about 10% higher than their original offer. 这的确是一个非常诱人的数字, but since even that revised offer was still not as high as the net present value of keeping the company and selling in five years, 里卡多决定不卖了.

如果你是一个正在成长的企业的所有者, you should never think about selling your company without first running a net present value calculation of keeping the company and selling it in five years. 你可能会对你学到的东西感到惊讶. 如果/当那个令人瞠目结舌的报价来了, you’ll have a much better sense of how to negotiate and when to say yes or, 同样重要的是, 什么时候说不.

 

JIM CUMBEE is President of 田纳西河谷集团, Inc. a retainer-based business brokerage and transition mediation 田纳西州富兰克林的公司. Cumbee is an attorney and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has a wide range of corporate 和企业家ial experiences that make him one of the most sought-after business transition advisors in the state of Tennessee. The names and fact patterns above have been changed to preserve the parties’ identities.

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吉姆Cumbee established 田纳西河谷集团 to help business owners fulfill their dreams for life after business ownership. It’s a mission that his 30+ year career history had prepared him well for—in addition to being an attorney, 转换中介和业务代理, 吉姆一直是买家, 卖方, 和企业家. His broad range of experience gives him unique insight into how business buyers and 卖方s can achieve their goals.

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