REBECCA Stopford, partner at Oxley & Coward Solicitors LLP in Rotherham reports that some SMEs in the region are deciding to make the most of the current “buyer’s market” to grow their business by acquisition, and she has some sound advice for businesses who see sale as the next step.
Due diligence is the term given to the process through which a potential buyer evaluates a business and its assets. Rebecca advises that sellers need to ensure that their business stands out by being fit for sale.
“Initial negotiations can take time, but once a buyer makes a decision to purchase, they want the process to run quickly. If the due diligence process is protracted or unearths some unfavourable information, a buyer can lose confidence in the business and could pull out of the acquisition,” said Rebecca.
Some timely housekeeping can make all the difference to a business’s sale prospects:
Ensure that all equipment is in good working order.
Employment, supplier and customer contracts need to be signed, up to date and in good order.
Intellectual property (IP) needs to be clearly documented.
Disputes need to be managed and settled.
“There is a lot more to due diligence than accounts,” added Rebecca. “Good record keeping and proper paper trails are vital. This can demonstrate how competently the business has been managed – and how easy or hard it could prove to run for a new purchaser.”
Oxley & Coward can help with all matters relating to business sale or purchase, including due diligence. A free no obligation consultation is on offer, so for further information on Oxley & Coward’s services, contact Rebecca and her team on 01709 510999 or visit the website at www.oxcow.co.uk