What can go wrong when selling your technology company?
by Aaron Solganick – CEO, Solganick & Co.
Running a sell-side mergers and acquisitions (M&A) process for a technology company can be complex, with several potential pitfalls. Here are a few things to consider before you begin this process:
1. Valuation Issues: Setting an unrealistic valuation can deter potential buyers or lead to a disconnect between seller expectations and market realities. Valuation discrepancies often emerge from differences in perspective on the company’s future growth prospects or the technological landscape.
2. Due Diligence Challenges: Buyers conduct thorough due diligence, and any uncovered issues with intellectual property, regulatory compliance, or financial discrepancies can either derail the deal or lead to a lower purchase price.
3. Negotiation Missteps: Poor negotiation tactics may result in unfavorable terms, leaving money on the table or causing long-term issues post-sale. It’s essential to strike a balance between securing a good price and maintaining a strategic relationship with the buyer.
4. Integration and Cultural Differences: Post-M&A integration poses significant risks, particularly in the tech industry, where company cultures and systems are often unique. Failure to address these differences can lead to operational disruptions or talent loss.
5. Leakage of Confidential Information: Throughout the M&A process, sensitive information must be shared. If confidentiality is breached, it can lead to competitive disadvantages or employee unrest.
6. Regulatory and Antitrust Issues: Technology M&As can face intense scrutiny from regulatory bodies concerned about antitrust laws, data privacy, and other sector-specific regulations.
7. Deal Fatigue: M&A transactions can be lengthy and complex, leading to ‘deal fatigue’ where the prolonged process causes stakeholders to lose interest or become frustrated, which can result in suboptimal decisions.
8. Economic and Market Changes: Fluctuations in the market or economy can impact the timing and success of an M&A deal, particularly if the process coincides with a downturn in the tech sector or broader financial markets.
9. Technology Sector Volatility: The fast-paced nature of technological innovation means that a company’s competitive edge can erode quickly if the M&A process is not expedited, potentially affecting the sale price or interest from buyers.
10. Key Personnel: Retention of key personnel is crucial; the departure of essential staff during the sale process can harm the company’s value and operational continuity.
11. Funding and Financing Issues: If the buyer faces difficulties in securing financing or if the capital market conditions change adversely, it can impact the deal structure or completion.
12. Strategic Misalignment: A misalignment of strategic visions between the selling company and potential buyers can lead to conflicts that might hinder the M&A process or the success of future operations.
13. Customer and Supplier Relations: The announcement of a sale can lead to uncertainty among customers and suppliers, which may affect the business operations and perceived value.
14. Technology Compatibility: For tech companies, incompatibility of the technology or product lines can be a deal-breaker or require additional resources to integrate.
15. Lack of Proper Advisement: Not using experienced M&A advisors (investment banker, legal, accounting, tax, etc.) can lead to mismanagement of the process, as they provide expertise in deal structuring, negotiations, and closing procedures.
Each of these risks can be mitigated with proper planning, advisory, and execution strategies tailored to the specific nature of the technology company and the M&A landscape.
About Solganick & Co.
Solganick & Co. is a data-driven investment bank and M&A advisory firm focused exclusively on technology companies. For more information on running an M&A process for your technology business, please contact us.