Before the Sale: Essential Steps to Prepare for an M&A Transaction

Client Introduction

My name is Jeff. I'm the former owner and current partial owner of Resident Essentials. I purchased the company from my stepfather about 10 years ago. At that time, the goal was to grow the company and then ultimately have an exit. There have been a lot of ups and downs over the last 10 years but a couple years ago I engaged CMG to represent me in the sale of the company and we had a successful transaction, we sold to a private equity firm in the Midwest that brought in a new CEO and is implementing some changes already and I rolled over a good portion of the purchase price in terms of equity in the new company and I feel good about that going forward, as well and just really looking forward to growth of the company and next steps of my personal growth. 

What were your motivations for selling the business? Why now?

Selling the company for me was really a deeply personal decision and was really the result of some personal kind of reflection and really less about the business itself or finances going forward. Obviously financial factors play a role in my decision but really the driving factors were more personal I'd say, you know, I was really ready for a new chapter in my life, that meant focusing on what was more important to me to my family, kind of really, for lack of a better word, becoming the best person that I could be and I was just generally ready for a change and I felt that to do that I really needed to let go of the reins of the company. So I would say in the end, really, the timing of my decision was the intersection of both personal and financial preparedness. 

Did you consider selling the company by yourself (without using investment banker)?

I did consider selling the company by myself, although very briefly. I think I quickly realized that I lacked the skills necessary to do so. I think I also realized that while an investment banker is certainly an expensive investment it is really just that it's an investment and I felt like with a right investment banker kind of steering the ship and guiding me through the process that they would be able to add value to the transaction beyond what I could achieve on my own. 

Why did you hire an investment banker to manage the process?

I hired an investment banker mainly because I quickly learned that selling a company was far more complicated than I realized and probably more than many realize and I simply lacked the expertise to successfully maximize the value of the company and also bring the transaction to a close. I also think that buyers are generally very knowledgeable and very skilled and the playing field was just simply not equal without someone with similar expertise on my side. There are a lot of options and investment bankers but I'd say I really kind of approached it with two main criteria. The two were really fit and skill. So for fit, I was looking for a team that was familiar with representing businesses my size and most importantly a team whose values and personality aligned well with mine. 

What was the most important criteria in the selection of an investment banker

So I was looking for a team that exuded integrity, honesty, importantly I'd say patience and as I learned, crucially, commitment to their clients. I'd say in terms of skill I was really looking for historical performance and industry recognition since I didn't know enough to be able to determine their level of skill and those are really the reasons why I selected CMG. So I did interview numerous investment banking firms. 

Why did you choose CMG over another sell-side team?  What was their differentiation vs. others you considered?

I was originally referred to CMG by another trusted professional in the field and it kind of quickly became apparent to me that CMG wasn't a typical investment bank. They're definitely founder focused, they have a hands on approach. They brought a lot of analytical abilities that I needed specific to my transaction. They had a lot of attention to detail that I felt was clearly superior to other teams that I had met with most importantly for me, they also presented as thoughtful, kind, intelligent, and I'd say dedicated professionals who I felt like I could trust with such a big life decision.

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About Carter Morse & Goodrich

Located in Southport, Connecticut, Carter Morse & Goodrich is a boutique M&A advisory firm that specializes in representing founder-led and family-held businesses valued between $25 million and $250 million. While CMG provides a full range of investment banking services, our primary focus is representing owners who are pursuing their once-in-a-lifetime M&A transactions. CMG specializes in advising leading companies in niche markets to plan, prepare, execute, and close successful transactions that maximize shareholder value. CMG fully understands and appreciates the unique dynamics of closely-held businesses and the importance of owner legacies. For 35 years, the combination of our hands-on approach, senior banker attention, strategic guidance, seamless transaction execution and extensive network of domestic and international resources has enabled us to become a trusted advisor to hundreds of business owners.

CMG's Broker/Dealer affiliate, Carter Capital Corporation, is a FINRA member firm registered with the SEC and SIPC.