Acquisition Advisors | Business Buyers, Sellers Are Cold Hearted? Selfish?
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10 Jan Business Buyers, Sellers Are Cold Hearted? Selfish?

Myth and misconception reign as common knowledge in private business purchase and sale transactions. I’ve come to believe that some stem from what I call the airplane crash syndrome – when a plane crashes it makes headlines. This makes people believe that flying is unsafe, which is untrue. Flying is incredibly safe, but when a tragedy occurs, it hits the headlines and everyone hears about it.

Same thing with business purchase transactions. When all goes well, nobody hears about it, but in the very rare case when a business is purchased and dismantled (i.e., employees are let go and the facility shut down), it hits the news.

The reality is that businesses typically change hands because the owner is no longer willing or able to do what it takes to keep the business growing. The sale brings in a new owner who has the energy, vision, capital and know-how to take the business to the next level. The result is very positive for the business and the community.

I’ve been involved in a lot of win-win transactions. In fact, my firm specializes in helping business owners find buyers who will be good for the employees, business and community. Contrary to what some believe, most sellers do care about these things. They want employees to be taken care of. They want the business to survive and thrive.

What is your experience? Do you think that most business buyers are like Gordon Gecko in the movie Wall Street—rape and pillage? Do you think that, down deep, business buyers and sellers are coldhearted and selfish? That business sales destroy lives and businesses?

  • Buying and Selling Businesses
    Posted at 21:24h, 11 January Reply

    I think your airplane analogy is a good one. Selling a business can be life changing and positive or a horrific experience as can buying a business. The bottom line is, if everyone’s expectations are fair and if the buyer is capitalized well then there is far more positive then negative to be had !

  • T. Cooper
    Posted at 09:36h, 12 January Reply

    David– Nice airline analogy. No, I don’t think most business buyers are Geckoian. I associate dismantlers with financial engineers of publically-traded, large, multi-dimensional corporations. This most often occurs when the public markets have “mis-valued” the company.
    In the future, spell check should be used, as well as better proofing of grammar. Good luck!

    Posted at 21:20h, 18 January Reply

    As for as the employees are concerned, I guess it depends upon the deal. Not bad at all if the company is in bad shape and the sale may mean survival. Yes, could be bad for employees if it’s a healthy company and the new owners have a different style, different preferences. You know, they are not going to have the loyalty to the employees.

    As far as the business owners, yes, I think all are selfish and in it for themselves.

    Robin (former CEO)

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