Do you have a media & technology business you want to sell but unsure of the process? This guide will walk you through, step-by-step.
This industry hosts a range of lucrative sectors, such as e-commerce which is worth a significant £700 billion.
Another exciting sector which is currently experiencing considerable growth, web design services. There are now nearly 2,000 of these businesses in the UK, worth £563 million.
Similarly seeing year-on-year growth, is advertising, marketing, media & PR. UK companies spent £24 billion on advertising alone last year.
It’s clear to see why buyers are eager to enter this market.
Read on for guidance on how to make your business stand out to buyers, as well as valuation information, tips on how to prepare your business for sale, negotiation advice, and how to finalise the deal.
How to Value a Media & Technology Business
Your company’s assets will differ according to the type of business you own and the sector you operate in.
Regardless of this, for each sale, the starting point is the same. Each business must combine its assets and its goodwill features to gain an accurate valuation.
Let’s look at assets featured in a magazine, print & publishing business:
- Equipment such as printers, scanners, computers, binding machines
- Paper & ink
- IT: software & intellectual property
- Fixtures, shelves, chairs, tables, CCTV
- Property value, if owning and selling the freehold of your premises
The age and condition of your assets are important in determining an accurate valuation. Don’t exaggerate their value, it may delay sale proceedings later. It’s best, to be honest.
The goodwill of a media & technology business is trickier to calculate, but just as important in providing a holistic valuation.
- Using an advertising agency as an example, consider the following:
- The working capacity of your business. These figures will be averages, calculated from the number of staff needed per project and each project length. We recommend having data from the past two years
- Staff capacity per project/client
- Current/future contracts
- Reputation, evidenced by reviews on websites such as Trust Pilot or Google
It is natural for owners to have an emotional attachment to their business; this can make it difficult to form an objective valuation.
For this reason, to obtain a fair price we advise using a business broker.
At Intelligent, we have a dedicated expert team with years of experience in calculating the value of hundreds of media & technology businesses.
We use a tailored approach depending on individual businesses, but the basic formula remains the same:
Adjusted Net Profit
This calculation takes into consideration any exceptional costs that the business has incurred. These exceptional costs are not considered part of the normal course of business and should therefore be excluded
We analyse buyer behaviour and transactions regionally and nationally. We overlay our experience, sector knowledge and understanding of market trends to provide a real time market multiple
Assets & Liabilities
An asset is something that the business owns and is a key factor in determining the businesses value. These include such things as property, stock and equipment. A liability is the opposite of an asset and includes things such as loans, tax and mortgages
How to Prepare a Media & Technology Business for Sale
A good starting point in preparing your business for a sale is to have your information and documents ready. This will help you be prepared for questions prospective buyers will have.
Not only will it help to make the process less stressful for you, but it will also make you look more professional and confident to buyers.
It’s not just that.
By fixing any problems with your business, you can be assured that you will receive the best possible price.
Let’s look at some important areas to focus on.
Undertake Immediate Repair Work
Carrying out any maintenance and repair work is an efficient way to boost the value of your business, making it more attractive to buyers.
This may involve physical repair work if your business operates from a unit. For businesses that operate solely online, see to any major glitches within software or platforms.
Don’t carry out a complete refurbishment or buy new expensive equipment just before your sale.
The buyer may want to refurbish the unit to suit their taste. Equally, you won’t regain the cost of new equipment in your sale price.
Operations & Management Structure
Some buyers are only interested in a business which can be operated from a distance. So, having an organised operation and management structure in place makes your business attractive to a wider audience.
This is crucial in businesses where owners are heavily involved in the everyday running of the company.
If this sounds like you - we suggest you consider asking your current managers and/or team leaders to take on more responsibilities on a day-to-day basis.
Review your Finances & Documents
Prospective buyers will request at least three years of financial statements. So, have these prepared and ready to show.
This enables a potential buyer to have an overview of your business’s financial health and stability.
The financial documents you will need are as follows:
- Cash flow
- Profit and loss
- Balance sheets
Ensure you’re honest and accurate as possible, as when the buyer undertakes due diligence, any falsehoods within the business’s finances will be discovered.
Other important documents to gather include:
- A list of all assets, such as fixtures, fittings, and equipment
- Up to date hygiene certificates
- Other legal documentation, which may include leases, insurance, licences, and other permits that should all be fully compliant and up to date
- Incorporation documents
- Management structure
- Employment contracts, which should be reviewed by yourself for the buyer’s convenience and to guarantee a strong staff team will be in place
- Stockist information, to demonstrate you have secure stockist relationships already in place
Negotiating the Sale
After successful enquiries and viewings, an interested buyer will progress into the negotiation stage. If you have your documents prepared in advance, negotiations will be more efficient.
You must now decide what’s included or excluded from the sale price.
Although naturally, the buyer will be inquisitive, you should also be assessing their potential to run a media & technology business successfully.
You will need to agree on the final sale price, the sale’s terms, and a thorough itinerary of everything included.
These decisions will be formalised in a ‘Heads of Terms’ or ‘Letters of Intent’ document. This is to be signed by both parties.
This is essentially finalising the sale; importantly, however, it is not yet legally binding.
You could offer a payment plan, with a larger sale price. This is known as owner or seller financing. Or, your buyer may be able to pay in a lump sum.
It is important to seek specific protective legal advice, as you may be at risk of a buyer default.
If you’re unsure of where to turn for a quality solicitor, we can help by matching you with one of our trusted partners.
Using an Intelligent trusted partner, you’ll save time and money. Sellers complete on average 4 weeks earlier than the industry standard and our negotiated savings are passed on in full.
The buyer and their team of professionals will then undertake due diligence checks.
For more on this read our in-depth guide, but it essentially involves scrutinising your premises, finances, assets, liabilities, clientele and reputation, as well as external threats and competition.
Finalising the Sale
You’re here, this is the final stage of selling your business!
Once all the due diligence checks are cleared, the buyer will be able to commit to a final, legally-binding ‘Purchase of Business Agreement’. The terms of this document will resemble the ‘Heads of Terms’ or ‘Letters of Intent’ document from the negotiation stage.
If any issues arise during due diligence, they can often be resolved with a renegotiation of the terms of sale or price.
However, in a worst-case scenario, the buyer may drop out of the deal completely.
That’s why we want to emphasise the importance of being honest throughout the entire selling process.
Ensure you obtain any necessary permissions from landlords and banks for the transfer of premises, equipment, and liabilities.
Once these documents are finalised and the money is transferred, you will have officially sold your business.
Just one final thing…
Wondering about the handover?
There are two types: immediate and transitional.
An immediate handover is a sudden shift in ownership and management. In doing this, the new owner is immediately responsible for the business. The seller has no more involvement.
The other option is a transitional handover. This is where there is a transition period between owners (usually a few weeks or months). This allows for a smoother exchange.
We recommend a transitional handover where possible.
Buyers get a strong insight into the way the business currently operates. It’s more likely to result in successful new ownership, therefore it’s more attractive to buyers.
There it is, your go-to guide for selling a media & technology business.
It may seem like hard work, but with a little preparation and planning, you can achieve the best possible price for your business.
By selling with Intelligent, we will take away the stress of selling so that you can focus on your business instead.
Our dedicated expert team will work hard to fully understand your business and what makes it unique, giving you peace of mind.
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