Well, business owners cannot moan that they were not warned that their opportunity to sell their business at a good price is rapidly declining. If you own a business in Canada, and particularly if your revenues are below $20M, you are going to have a far harder time selling your company. There is still time to get in Private Equity Partners who will buy 30% and let you stay on to grow the business with them and sell your remainder share five years down the road.
"For the first time in 16 years, private equity funds are selling more companies than they are buying," reports Andrew Willis, Globe and Mail. Here's what else Willis had to say:
News on Monday that Cerberus Capital is selling a health care company in its portfolio, Talecris Biotherapeutics, to Spain’s Grifols marked something of a turning point for the private equity sector. According to data from Thomson Reuters, the $4-billion (U.S.) sale meant that for the first time since 1994, global mergers & acquisitions involving a private equity seller outweigh takeovers involving private equity buyers.Funds have sold $67.1-billion of companies, year-to-date, and done $64.2-billion worth of takeovers. Overall, the volume of deals involving private equity funds is soaring, largely due to a recovering in credit markets over the past year - loans fuel leveraged buyouts. Year-to-date 2010, Thomson Reuters found activity involving financial sponsors as sellers was up 132 per cent, while sell-side activity is up 174 per cent. M&A activity involving a private equity fund accounted for 13 per cent of the total value of worldwide M&A so far this year, up from 6 per cent of deals during the same period in 2009, according to Thomson Reuters.
What does this mean for business owners? It is similar to the housing market, investors are selling off properties and this pulls down the price of housing in the neighborhood. Same for businesses. The last eight glory years of getting great multiples are over.
However, I was in Boston this past week and American Private Equity firms are very keen to buy into Canadian firms and willing to invest in equity partnerships of 35% upwards. They would be exciting partners for Canadian owners and are very similar in culture - polite.
If you are a Canadian business owner with a company with revenues over $20,000 revenues, now is your chance.