M&A, Liquidity and Exits

Tech startups are frequently counseled to plan for the exit from day one, the better to demonstrate to investors the path to ROI. The liquidity event might be in the form of an initial public offering or SPAC deal, but much more commonly, the company is sold to a financial or strategic buyer, for cash, equity interests of the buyer, or a combination.

“Traditional” businesses, that is, family businesses and enterprise that do not have a substantial base of outside capital from professional investors, may not be driven by the same timeline or impetus, but might be prompted to seek an exit or restructuring transaction for various reasons, including a desire to:

  • recapitalize the company to address new challenges and opportunities
  • enable the founder to retire
  • transition ownership to management
  • achieve liquidity or diversification for the owners

Whatever the reason for, or the status of, your business' exit, and whether you started the business with the exit in mind or have decided that it is time to sell a long-held family business, we can help you plan, negotiate, and execute the deal. Our approach to M&A is shaped by our experience in closing deals of all shapes and size, from a public company acquisition valued at hundreds of millions, to the transition of a generations-old family business, to a so-called "acqui-hire," in which a strategic buyer picks up the IP and hires a founder or two in order to fold in or re-direct a great idea within a stalled venture. We can handle deals of any size, from $50,000 to over $100 million in enterprise value.

The type of planning and execution needed to ensure a smooth transition depends on many factors: whether the stakeholders are experienced repeat players, as in the case of a VC-backed company, as opposed to a family business or self-funded startup; the reason for the transition; and the extent to which existing management is to remain involved, among others. We can work with you to address your business' unique circumstances and goals for the transition, including:

  • Exit strategy and evaluating the company's readiness for transition
  • Identifying and coordinating the team of professional advisors, including investment bankers/business brokers, tax, accounting and business valuation specialists
  • Preparing the business for sale, turnaround or transition
  • Management succession and non-compete issues
  • Negotiating and closing the transaction and allocating the risks of post-closing liabilities
  • Employee contracts, retention, severance
  • Real estate and equipment considerations, including existing contracts and leases
  • Intellectual property issues
  • Communication strategy

Contact O'Connor Law Office at goconnor@gpoconnorlaw.com.