Choosing an M&A advisor

10 key questions for selecting the corporate finance firm who will achieve the best price for the sale of your busines

Choosing and hiring Merger and Acquisitions advisors to handle the sale of a business is the most important "purchase decision" you will ever make as a business owner.

So it deserves more attention than a decision to buy some piece of kit, but it often gets less! Because most owners only sell one business in their lifetime, it’s hard for them to know what it takes to get a remarkable result.

These questions are intended to give business sellers a tool for comparing M&A advisory firms:
1. Who would be working as the lead on my project; what is their experience of selling companies, and what else do they do aside from that?
2. Why is your M&A advisory firm the best for our business sale engagement? Is it known for a particular industry niche or transaction niche?
3. What steps do you take to ensure the confidentiality of the business sale process and to protect my staff from being poached by potential buyers of the business?
4. What is your sell-side process, typical timetable for selling a business and deliverables set? Can I see samples of those deliverables:
  • Initial Profile
  • Confidentiality Agreement (CA)/Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
  • The Book/Information Memorandum
  • typical contents of any mailings
5. If I choose your M&A firm, how will you market the sale of my company?
  • internet site postings?
  • emails?
  • mail campaign?
  • direct telephone calls?
6. Who are the likely buyers for my business, and why?
7. What is the likely value range for my company; what’s your approach to putting a price tag on it, and how will I know that I’m getting the best price and terms for my business if I choose your M&A advisory firm to sell it?
8. Do you have any client reference letters and will we be able to speak to referees?
9. How do your fees work?
  • Up-front payments?
  • Monthly fees?
  • Minimum cash at close?
  • Expenses?
  • How long is the "tail" on the agreement?
10. What can your M&A advisory firm do in advance of a business sale to help us improve our ultimate transaction value?


Want to find out more about selling a business? We grow (Business Improvement Programme) and sell businesses with operating profits of £500k> (to which we offer a business valuation service), in any sector, anywhere in the world. Contact us for a no obligation chat.

© Shield Corporate Finance 2009


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