Had I Known while Selling My Company – The Investment Banker

Honestly, when it comes to my investment banker while selling my company, I got it right. I just wasn’t aware of how right I was until we were really deep into the deal. I’m very thankful now that I listened to a friend. There were a few things that came up in the deal that baffled me, really were over my head, and had we not signed with the one we did, I’m not certain the deal would have ever gotten closed and if it had closed, we may not have gotten top dollar.

Our investment banker had experience; quite a few years actually with a good bit of deals under his belt. His deals were comparable to ours in that they were similar in industry and size of the valuation we were looking for. That’s actually what helped me make the decision to sign with this one. My reasoning was that this guy would understand my business and how to navigate the difficult issues like confidentiality and dealing with my competitors. Turns out, it was the smartest thing I did in the deal. Not only did he know my industry, he was prepared for issues that would inevitably arise and knew immediately how to handle them. He couldn’t have done us the job he did had he not “been there, done that.”

Another thing that was right about my investment banker was his team. There was a young guy who did all the research and kept the databases. He was very tech savvy. There was another senior team member who dug through our financial records like a bear. Nothing got by him. We had to fix, rearrange, and just plain get our records in order for this guy; and we couldn’t be passive about it. Was it a pain? You know it. I’ll never forget him. He was so detail-oriented and went through everything with a fine-toothed comb 10 times over such that I kept coffee and energy drinks on hand for the days he would be visiting. This guy was in his seventies and could run circles around all of us. My main contact was more laid back and easy going but “the deal book” guy was made of a different caliber. As tedious as the whole thing was though, it was well worth it. It certainly paid off. I’m glad my banker had a team of experts with different qualities. It makes me wonder sometimes how they get along so well being so vastly different. All I know is that it worked very well for selling my company.

Lastly, these guys had contacts running out of their ears. They had been in the business so long, there wasn’t anyone I don’t think they didn’t know. They created this marketing list of potential buyers that was incredible. That’s when I really started to see I had picked the right investment banker. They had contacts with private equity groups, hedge funds, and strategic buyers in my industry. They also knew people in something I had never heard of before called The Family Office. These were investment groups owned and operated by super-wealthy families or individuals who bought and sold companies for their own private investment portfolio. My investment banker had an amazing amount of contacts from forming a potential buyers list, to knowing who might be interested in co-investments, to getting every question that came up answered quickly and accurately. It seems to me, experience was so important but also knowing how to work together with me and my team, and how to represent what I wanted to the potential buyers, when to be soft and when to be tough, how to negotiate on my behalf and when to jump on an offer was invaluable.   Their seniors guys also knew how to work with the buyer to give him good guidance and bring the negotiations along without upsetting anybody – priceless. They sure made everybody felt we were all on the same page and gave honest advise of what was doable and what wasn’t.

I totally lucked out when it came to my investment banking firm. I really got it right but it wasn’t because I was so savvy in my selecting. I just felt I could trust them and managed to somehow select a banker with the experience, the team, and the contacts to get the job done. And yes, I got quite a bit more money for my company than I really thought possible because I had the right advisers to work with. Someone somewhere was smiling down on me. They paid for themselves and delivered value without a doubt.

About Dan Flick

He understands that no amount of MBA and Ph.D degrees can provide familiarity, the know-how, or the skills to professionally and effectively represent and manage every facet within the M&A (mergers and acquisitions) process, including assisting in the decision process, positioning a company for sale, marketing the company to a specific and targeted market, and most importantly, closing the deal while always recognizing the emotional needs of the owner.