Ney is out on vacation this week. My name is Graeme. I’m one of Ney’s partners and am filling in with some of my own thoughts on buying and selling businesses.
We have a very good listing right now that is generating a lot of interest. It’s a 15 year old company that is growing rapidly, is very profitable and appears to be recession proof. One of the first questions potential buyers are asking is about the seller’s motivation and his plans to leave or stay with the business. This seller doesn’t want to leave the company, but does want to take some of his personal risk off the table and bring in some more professional management.
I have gotten some interesting reactions to this plan. Some have said they don’t think a seller can remain motivated once they sell a large stake and have that personal cushion. Others have been more open to the idea, seeing the advantage to having the person with the industry experience and contacts staying in the company and building more management infrastructure around the seller to get more effective use of his expertise.
Yesterday I got a call from a buyer who was very excited about the whole plan. He had in interesting viewpoint. He said he not only understands the seller, but he thinks the plan is perfect for future growth. “After running a company for that long, you want to join a team. After all, it’s lonely at the top and at some point you want some allies to work with.” We discussed that renewed energy you get when you join a team and everyone raised their game.
I thought this was an interesting perspective and really captured what I had picked up from the seller, but had not been able to articulate. In that team environment, I think the company is likely to see significant growth and everyone should do well.