The exit process
step by step

Identify M&A Professionals / Corporate Finance houses:

Start by identifying M&A professionals or Corporate Finance Houses that are of a suitable size to be interested in your business. Reach out to them to discuss the task, inquire about their fees, timelines, and workload. Ask for references from recent clients for further insight.

Speak to referees and gather recommendations:

Speak to the referees provided by M&A professionals. Gather recommendations and tips on the Corporate Finance House, solicitors, accountants, and other relevant aspects. The solicitor's advice will be particularly crucial, so pay close attention.

Advise Your accountants/auditors and seek tax advice:

Inform your accountants or auditors about the situation and seek tax advice. Ensure that your financial matters are in order and that you are well-informed about the tax implications of the sale.

Confirm the potential purchaser List and prioritize contacts:

Confirm the purchaser list with the M&A/Corporate Finance House. If there are promising prospects, make sure they are contacted promptly. Prioritize contacting decision-makers directly and ensuring they understand the opportunity.

Prepare a teaser document and Information Memorandum:

Work with the M&A professionals to prepare the teaser document and the more detailed information memorandum (IM). Ensure that your unique selling proposition (USP) is highlighted and not lost in technical jargon.

Let the M&A Professionals manage outreach and negotiations:

Let the M&A professionals handle the outreach, follow-up calls, and the process of obtaining non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). The goal is to have at least three interested, qualified parties entering negotiations.

Insist on timely feedback and maintain momentum:

Insist on timely feedback from all involved parties to ensure that the process maintains momentum. Prioritize keeping the process on track and addressing any issues promptly.

Draft and revise the legal agreement:

The legal agreement is drafted by the purchaser's legal team and revised as necessary by both parties. Ensure that the terms align with your expectations and protect your interests.

Prepare Due Diligence documentation:

Prepare all due diligence documentation in a way that aligns with the legal agreement. Organize the records and, if needed, tidy up disorganized information. Keep an ongoing record of items to be included in the disclosure letter.

Maintain an ongoing record for disclosure:

Keep an ongoing record of what needs to be included in the disclosure letter. The recommendation is to disclose everything to avoid potential claims later in the process.

Record arrangements for transfer:

Keep a record of arrangements and resources needed to transfer suppliers and customers to the new business. This will be crucial for a smooth transition.

Expect the sale process to take 6+ months

Be prepared for the sale process to take six months or longer. Patience and diligence will be key as you navigate each step of the journey.

Start to plan your exit 5 years in advance

Because there are many things you can do to influence value and they take time, you need to start developing the option to exit at least five years in advance. Note too that it should be an option to exit not a deadline as the market and offers  might not be right and you certainly don't want to be negotiating under time pressure.