In any business transaction, there are going to be key deal points that are deal breakers for the buyer or the seller. As brokers, we’re going to represent our client to the best of our ability. We also have one eye on the greater picture, the deal itself. And sometimes, we can come up with creative solutions to get a deal to the finish line and make both parties happy.
Sometimes a seller wants to include the real estate of a business along with the sale. But if it’s bundled together, it becomes too much for the buyer to take on. Sometimes the financing won’t cover it. Sometimes because the cash flow isn’t there. Owners will sometimes not pay themselves rent on the property and thus create an unattractive proposition to buyers who don’t have the luxury of owning the building the property is housed in.
A win/win solution can be to carve the real estate out of the deal and make the seller a landlord. In this way, the buyer doesn’t have to deal with the cost of the real estate. And the seller is incentivized to make sure the buyer succeeds so he gets additional cash flow via the tenancy.
We’ve discussed the risks of an earnout on numerous occasions. Sometimes a seller who isn’t happy with this option can ask for a royalty on a specific product or in a specific division of the company. The principle of the earnout is the same: money later instead of at the time of closing.
This can be a win for a seller who doesn’t want to go down a traditional seller financing route (for whatever reason) and for the buyer who can see that the seller believes in the product/company enough to defer compensation and base it on performance.
Over the years, the seller may have acquired assets that are either superfluous to the business (additional trucks that are simply being kept as “spares”) or not part of the buyer’s vision for the company. The seller doesn’t have to “take a loss” on these assets. He/she can simply carve them out of the transaction and sell them separately. The buyer wins by not paying for assets that he/she doesn’t feel the business needs going forward.
Sometimes a buyer might only be interested in a particular part of the business. This could be the fastest growing segment of the business. Or it might feature a method or technology that he/she is particularly interested in. This presents an opportunity to spin off that part of the company either as an entity owned solely by the seller or in some kind of partnership (allowing the buyer to fully buy out the seller at some point.) This can allow the seller to take some money off the table and/or use some of those proceeds to package up the rest of the business for sale on its own.
There are many bespoke possibilities to get to the finish line of a transaction. But you can’t get there if you’re overly focused on “winning” a deal point and ignore its role in the transaction as a whole. That’s where we can (and do) help. Want to know more? Give us a call!