Milestones in a sale process are outlined in the following chart.
Having said that, the following is an actual example of a divestiture of a private companyIn this case, the owner and 100% shareholder wanted to retire and was well prepared to initiate the process. The business was a very profitable software business operating out of one location servicing a diversified customer base. In short, an attractive acquisition opportunity supported by a motivated seller.
The engagement letter to commence the process was signed May 11th, a Wednesday. That Friday we met with the company for an information gathering and strategy session. One week later we met again, this time having completed a first draft of a potential buyer list, a Confidential Information Memorandum (CIM) and the teaser. First emails and calls to potential buyers commenced on may 26th; first books (i.e. CIMs) were sent on June 10th; and expressions of Interest (EOIs) were requested by June 30th.
Getting a sense of market interest and indicative value can be a fast process; in this case about seven weeks. Key contributors to a speedy process are client readiness and working as expeditiously as possible on the factors that the selling team can control. While only half-way through the process (with management presentations, requesting and negotiating LOIs and due diligence yet to come), the selling team will have a good sense of the market interest and whether a good deal is possible at this point in the process.
Many things, both economic and company specific, can change during the selling timeframe and it is strongly in the seller’s and advisor’s interest to complete the process as quickly as possible.