The acquisition process

Buying a company requires a proper preparation. There is a lot involved for you as a buyer, which is why we use these ten steps to help you move through the process.

From the initial meeting to finalizing the deal, and completing the business acquisition.

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The steps

These are the minimum requirements for a successful business acquisition. Throughout the process, we continually evaluate whether the steps are being followed properly and whether additional checks are needed.

For a successful collaboration, it is important we get to know each other properly first. Starting a dialogue about your specific wishes and requirements allows us to determine our approach and method. For example, what is the reason you want to buy a company? Which sector are you interested in? What is your plan after the acquisition? Do you know how the acquisition will be financed? These questions can help us to determine how to approach the process. If both parties are positive about the introduction, we can get to work with the chosen approach. Before we start, we will put together a deal team of Marktlink consultants who will guide you through the entire process.

After getting to know you, we will have a general idea of what you want, but a more in-depth understanding is needed before we approach any candidates. A clear and specific search profile must be drawn up. This profile should include the size of the company, the location or region, your preferred sector, the financial situation, and the company’s market share.

We use the completed search profile to dive into the market to look for candidates, and we put the search request out among our (inter)national network. In doing so, we not only look at companies with a selling interest but at all companies that might be of interest to you. We add all possible candidates to the longlist, which we then condense into a shortlist, in consultation with you. Only the most suitable candidates will remain.

Would you like to know which companies are currently for sale? Take a look at the up-to-date company profiles.

By now, we know exactly what you are looking for, allowing us to approach the suitable candidates from your shortlist. We gauge the selling interest and gather as much information from the companies as possible. If the talks go well, we will bring you and the potential seller together for an introduction.

We distinguish ourselves from other advisors by our active market approach. We don’t just contact companies that are open to selling, but also companies where this topic might not have come up yet. As such, we can tap into a larger market with a better opportunity of finding a suitable business.

After the first exploratory talks, we analyze the company and the market, and request further (financial) information. Based on this, we will make an indicative value assessment and, together with you, we draw up a maximum purchase price. We use the company information supplied and various other indicators – such as market development in the sector – for the valuation.

Your bid has been received in good order, and you and the seller are in agreement. It is time for the next phase. The solicitors will draw up the agreement of intent. This is a provisional sales agreement that contains aspects such as the purchase price, the payment method and terms, the guarantee obligations, the competition clause, and cancellation clauses. These will be subject to negotiations to reach an outline agreement. In 95% of the cases, signing the agreement of intent leads to a transaction between both parties.

After signing the agreement of intent, the relevant parties and people have to be notified. For example, the employees will have to be informed, and it might be necessary to consult with trade unions, the Social and Economic Council, and the Workers’ Council if there is one. It is essential that this communication is handled properly, to create support within the company.

The due diligence consists of an assessment of the accuracy and completeness of the information the agreement of intent is based on. This assessment may vary from a brief procedure to a very comprehensive process of critical examination encompassing the entire company. This way, you know exactly where you stand when you take over the company, without any nasty surprises afterward. In this phase, we will negotiate the due-diligence results with you and the selling party and ensure that everything is finalized correctly

Most acquisition transactions require suitable financing to fund the acquisition and to complete the deal. For this, we work with you to assess your financial requirements and obtain quotations from financiers if necessary. We can draw on a network of more than 250 financiers, such as banks, private equity funds, and informal investors. We present your plans and negotiate with the financier to arrange the best terms.

Finally, the last phase, actually closing the deal and finalizing the acquisition. All legal work is carried out first, and the outcomes of the due diligence are recorded. Once this has been done, the final purchase contract is drawn up, and an appointment is made at the notary’s office to complete the transfer. Then, the moment you have been working towards: the deal is done and you are the proud new owner of the company. Congratulations!

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