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A January 2004 survey conducted by the DAK Group/Rutgers found the following breakdown of why businesses are for sale:

Reasons To Sell

  • Risk reduction      44%
  • Competition or market changes   41%
  • External pressures     27%
  • Lifestyle factors (age, health, etc.)   14%
  • Lack of capital      9%
  • Ownership/management issues  07%

Note: Multiple responses allowed;  Source: DAK Group/Rutgers

It is interesting to note that the top, by far, three reasons to sell are financial as is the fifth reason. The information furnished by much of the media suggests that the big reason to sell is generational – in other words, all of yesterday’s owners are now ready to retire.  According to the survey above, that motivation (included in “Lifestyle factors”) represents only 14 percent, and it  includes health and other personal issues.  The last reason, at 7 percent, might also include retirement since ownership/management could be involved with retirement issues.  Twenty-one percent of the respondents mentioned either lifestyle or ownership/management issues.  Placing these reasons at the top of the list does not justify the hype of the “baby-boomers” retiring over the next few years.

Shown, below, the reasons for considering an acquisition seem to be more obvious.  Although growth leads the list by a hefty margin, all of the other reasons could also be considered growth issues.

Reasons for Considering an Acquisition

  • Growth   72%
  • Acquire competitor  38%
  • Product diversification 37%
  • Geographic diversification 29%
  • Technology   09%

Note: Multiple responses allowed;   Source: DAK Group/Rutger

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