Buying and financing a business acquisition is one of the major challenges of firms in the SME (Small and medium enterprise) sector in Canada.
Unlike the big boys who have access and funds available to hire expensive talent to complete the transaction the Canadian SME business owner and financial manager has the desire to complete a transaction , but needs help and information they traditionally don’t have immediate access to .
Naturally acquisitions can be completed via an all cash purchase, the reality is that most businesses don’ have the capital to complete a deal in that manner. And another thing, completing a transaction without acquisition loans and funding doesn’t make perfect sense all the time because you are not taking advantage of leverage and return on investment.
So what information is in fact required as you are contemplating buying that firm? Is there in fact a ‘ short list ‘ of information? A great start would be some basics such as a business plan or executive summary which profiles the transaction.
Other critical data are the financial statements of the firm you are acquiring, some cash flow analysis, and most importantly, some financial modeling around the future profitability and cash flow generation of the combined business.
Its those cash flows of course that will repay your business acquisition loans and financing!
A key concept around your deal is the equity component in the transaction. There has to be some reasonable equity in the combined firm, and that can come from your firm, the assets of the firm you are acquiring, or potentially some new equity and ownership participation.
So what can go wrong in a transaction like this? Well without the assistance or information we have spoken of, lots!
Timing is always a key component of your deal. The closing of your transaction can be driven by external deadlines, the deadlines imposed by the seller, or your own commitments to closing. Bottom line, leave enough time – its as simple as that.
A lot of transactions we look at have some huge ‘ gaps ‘ of missing information. To complete a proper purchase and financing a business acquisition properly with the right amount of loans, debt, etc requires all the missing pieces in the financial puzzle to be on the table.
So how can the acquisition be financed? There are some great and innovative strategies you can utilize to complete a deal successfully. They include and asset based lending scenario which monetizes the assets of the sellers firm. Smaller transactions under 350k can be efficiently handled via the Canadian CSBF loan program which has solid rates, terms and structures.
Business people need to remember also that you need to borrow enough to not only acquire the business, but to ensure you have the working capital and access to liquidity to grow the firm.
There are some great reasons to consider buying and financing a business. Some typical reasons include diversification, the ability to grow sales and reduce costs on a synergistic basis, and in some cases you just might have discovered a ‘ jewel in the barn ‘ – the type of firm that is undervalued or has a motivated seller.
Your key goals are to analyze the operating activities of the firm to be acquired, ensure you have a financing plan in place, and, as we said ensure you have the capital ready to ensure proper cash flow and replacement and upgrade of any needed assets.
Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist you with your business acquisition loans and financing needs.