A sell-side client of mine recently had the following email exchange with a buy-side broker:
Buy-Side Broker to Target: “Good afternoon, Our brokerage is working closely with a buyer who is seeking to acquire an existing business in the industrial equipment manufacturing industry. The buyer is seeking an established company with a team of employees, as he has a background in business development, financial oversight and growing existing businesses by strategic acquisition.
To give you some background on who we are: [our firm] specializes in confidentially and privately placing qualified buyers with current business owners.
Are you available for a 15-minute call on Wednesday or Thursday of this week to discuss?
Follow-Up Email from Buy-Side Broker to Target: “Good afternoon, For additional clarification on the email I sent to you yesterday, my buyer is ready, willing and able to make a purchase but the desired timeline for a sale really depends on your desires as an owner. The buyer is flexible with transition length.
I’d be happy to discuss this and other details – such as purchase structure and pricing – on a brief call with you on Thursday or Friday of this week. I assure you I’ll make effective use of our time.”
Target to Buy-Side Broker: “Please contact Mike Ertel at TransWorld M&A as we are under contract with them at this time. [Contact info included.]”
Buy-Side Broker to Target: “Thank you for the email, and for the introduction, but we do not co-broker. Should it not work out, we would be happy to assist.”
Observations: Either the buy-side broker’s claim of “working with a buyer” was bogus
[frequently the case, but shame on him/her]
, or the broker’s office policy of not cooperating with another broker is preventing his client from seeing legitimate acquisition opportunities and doing a disservice to his buyer.
Advice to Buyers and Sellers: Forewarned is forearmed. Make certain you know what your broker’s policy is towards cooperating with other brokers. It may be keeping you from seeing many legitimate opportunities.
Advice to Business Brokers and M&A Intermediaries: The hallmarks of any professional business brokerage or M&A advisory practice should always be: Competence, Confidentiality, and Cooperation. Our obligation to our clients – whether buyers or sellers – is to make certain they’re seeing all legitimate opportunities. If your office policy is not to cooperate with other, legitimate brokers you’re hurting yourself and your client. We will share fees with any legitimate broker who brings a qualified buyer or seller to one of our engagements.
If you know of a business owner who’s thinking of selling or buying a business and who might benefit from a complimentary, confidential, consultation with us, have them contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or one of the other managing directors at Transworld M&A Advisors.
Mike Ertel, CBI, M&AMI, CM&AA Managing Director Transworld M&A Advisors
©2019 J. Michael Ertel PA