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38 . Glasgow Business April/May 2016


DEAL OR


Professional advisors are an essential step when buying or selling a business and will make you aware of any potential pitfalls


F


or business owners and their employees, the process of buying or selling a company is a huge event, oſten redefining everything from job


roles and corporate culture to overall strategic direction. Approached and executed well, it can be advantageous to both parties, injecting new life, cash and opportunities, and obtaining the right professional advice can make all the difference. Tere are endless reasons for considering


buying or selling a business, and your objective will ultimately determine your strategy. Reasons for selling include retirement and succession, wealth realisation, or – particularly among entrepreneurs – the feeling they have taken things as far as they can and need external investment and expertise to avoid stagnation. On the buying side, market share,


geographical expansion, the desire to absorb or stymie competitors and also complementary products can all be important factors in a decision. According to Neal Allen, a director in


corporate finance at KPMG, having a clear grasp of the ‘why’ behind a sale or acquisition should always come before the ‘how’. “Whether buying or selling, you need to be


very clear on your motivations, what you hope to get out of it, and then find a buyer or seller willing to make a deal that meets those needs. If necessary, part of a professional adviser’s role can be matchmaking; finding another business that would make a good strategic fit.” Shuna Stirling, corporate partner and head


of corporate and commercial at Brodies, said this is particularly important for the seller, as motivation can have a significant impact on geting a good deal. “If you’re selling because you need to,


rather than because it’s the best time to do so, you’re likely to get a different result. So, don’t wait until you are in the position of being desperate to retire, for example. You can afford to take a very different view on offers when you’re sailing on the crest of a


wave, and those offers are likely to be beter.” Assuming your goals for negotiation are


clear, Campbell Cummings, PwC in Scotland’s new Corporate Finance Director, said there are three general pointers every party should bear in mind, regardless of which side of the table they sit. “Build good rapport and relationships with


the other side – don’t underestimate the importance of trust in any transaction. Also give early considerations to possible tax implications of the transaction and how you


can maximise your allowances and reliefs. Finally appoint reputable advisors early; make sure you trust them to represent your best interests and ensure they understand your objectives as well as your business.” Campbell and Shuna both also emphasise


the importance of taking time to prepare, and paying atention to the seemingly mundane administrative details when it comes to due diligence. Shuna said: “One of the things I say to both parties is ‘how well run does this company


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