Family businesses ‘ready to exit’

Most owners of family-based businesses would be willing to sell their companies if they were made an attractive offer, a new survey suggests.

The research, conducted by KPMG, dispels the notion that there is a desire among such businesses to ‘keep it in the family’ and not sell up to an outside buyer.

The survey found that 62% of family-run businesses would be open to an offer if it were made that day, compared to just 52% of all firms.

The decision to sell appears to be heavily influenced by the arrival of a good offer and less to do with a planned exit strategy: a third of the ex-family owners and 53% of all ex-owners admitted this was the case.

KPMG say that the survey’s results raise the question of whether increasing numbers of UK businesses are moving out of family ownership.

The data suggests that 29% of all current owners indicated their intention to exit via a trade sale, another 25% chose succession as their leading exit option.

Adrian Dray, partner, KPMG Corporate Finance, said: “The decision to sell a business is all about price and timing and only when both of these are right can the offer be described as tempting.

“If the offer is compelling, owners need to move quickly and with confidence. So even if you haven’t got the ‘for sale’ sign up, the motto is: always be prepared.”

However, despite the apparent readiness to sell amongst business owners most said they thought it would take from between one and three years to do so – too long for most investors, KPMG said.

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© Crimson Business Ltd. 2006


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