Retirement persuades business owners to sell up

Some 45% of the business owners polled by Grant Thornton said retirement was their primary motivation for a sale. This was followed by wanting to make aprofit (42%), and the desire to sell to start up a new business (10%).

The most likely vehicle used is a trade sale ? used by 85% of the sample. Others look to sell to a financial institution, with 6% seeking to pass on the reigns to the next generation.

‘The fact that business owners are looking to exit to either retire or make a profit is not a surprise,’ said Andrew Roberts, of Grant Thornton’s corporate finance team.

‘What is interesting is that business owners considering a sale regard a trade sale as their main exit strategy. While this form of exit has been, and continues to be, a popular channel for sales, we are beginning to witness ? and are likely to see ? increases in sales to financial institutions.

As liquidity in the market continues its downward trend, cautious trade buyers will pose less of a threat to VCs who, through greater investment strength and the need to build their portfolios, are likely to be more active in the acquisitions market in the coming months.

Getting a good price for their business was regarded by one in three respondents as the biggest barrier to selling a business. One in four said finding a buyer was a hurdle. Loyalty to staff (9%), competition and finding the right advisers were problems for others.

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