The Four Essential Stages of a Closing
When it comes to reaching a successful closing, there are four important stages to keep in mind. In this article, we will take a look at the process and what sellers can expect. If you are planning to sell a business, it is also helpful to understand in depth what the stages are from a buyer’s perspective.
The Letter of Intent (LOI)
The letter of intent is one of the responsibilities that your business broker or M&A advisor will take on to assist you. Your letter of intent should include the price, terms, time frame anticipated as well as other factors, such as the seller’s transition and training. Details such as what is included and what is not included in the deal should always be addressed in this agreement.
The due diligence process is also an essential step. Your business broker or M&A advisor will guide you during due diligence. All important facts and documentation should be evaluated, ranging from tax returns and internal P&Ls to leases, bank statements, and customer/employee lists. Buyers who do not invest enough time and energy into due diligence can often have serious regrets after the deal has closed. Be sure to take your time with this stage.
There are other areas of due diligence that should not be overlooked including the very important NDA, financial statements, credit reports and other factors. If you want to have a smooth closing (which clearly you do!), you will want to wisely invest your time in due diligence.
Financing approval is considered your lender’s responsibility. However, if you need advice and insights, your business broker or M&A advisor should be able to assist you. You may want to look into local SBA lenders or seller financing.
The final agreement drafting period must be taken seriously. This is a step where your attorney will be of tremendous assistance. Your written agreement should cover a wide range of aspects including everything from payment terms to assets and liabilities. Both the buyer and seller should know exactly what the arrangement will be.
When these four stages are followed properly, your deal should close in a timely and effective manner. If you have any concerns or uncertainties about these parts of a closing, be sure to always ask the necessary questions.