Aaron Houghton sold iContact in 2012 for $180 million. The first round of growth was financed by something called convertible debt, which Houghton recommends to any entrepreneur for its simplicity. To hear how Houghton parlayed an initial investment of $250,000 into a $180 million exit.
In eight years Ryan Born built Audio Micro, which began operations in his spare bedroom, into an Inc. 500 company. Born went on to sell his business for more than $20 million in 2014 – a deal that only happened because he had the foresight to put an expiry date on the "no shop” clause on his Letter of Intent.
Jeff Hoffman sold Competitive Technologies, a business intelligence company serving the travel industry, to American Express in a nine-figure exit. After the Letter of Intent (LOI) was signed, American Express proposed paying part of the acquisition in an earn-out, and you’ll never guess what Hoffman did next.
Most financial acquirers will arrive at an offer for your business by calculating the profit they expect you to make and deciding what they are willing to pay today, for your profit stream in the future. Because you are competing with lots of other places that the acquirer could invest their money, multiples are usually in the low to mid-single digits of your pre-tax profit.
A strategic acquisition is an entirely different animal.
A strategic acquirer will value your company based on how much more of their product they can sell, which is exactly what Business Objects (now SAP) did when they bought Nick Kellet’s business, Next Action Technologies, for more than eight times revenue.
Yvonne Tocquigny built her Austin-based advertising agency up over 35 years working with clients like Jeep, Dell, Hitachi, USAA and Caterpillar. Then in 2015, she got a call from New York wondering if she would consider selling. The problem was that her agency had become part of who she was. She had become something of a local celebrity and an inspiration for young female entrepreneurs in Austin. In selling, Tocquigny feared she would give up part of who she had become.