When It's Time to Sell

by Curry W. Kirkpatrick, Owner; C. W. Kirkpatrick and Associates, Irvine, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 3, Pg. 74-75

Document Type: Feature article


Although ownership transition is sometimes achieved through an internal or management buyout, in many scenarios, the retirement of a shareholder or partner will result in a sale to an outside buyer. But selling to an outside buyer can be a double-edged sword: It is popular because in many instances, it's the only plausible method of allowing an owner to retrieve his equity when he retires. It's mysterious because most owners don't understand how to facilitate the sale of their business; they don't understand the process. This article presents a practical overview of the buy/sell process from the seller's standpoint. It acquaints business owners and top executives with key elements of the process—from packaging the firm, to finding a buyer to contract negotiations and closing—highlighting pitfalls and suggesting ways to increase the odds for success.

Subject Headings: Owners | Business administration | Retirement | Negotiation

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