Setting a Price for Private Companies

Placing a price or value on a privately-held company is more difficult than valuing publicly company stock due to a limited market, financial and company information. There is no real time market price quoted for private companies, so we must turn to other approaches.

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Price is Not Always the Highest Priority

Many business brokers believe that price may not be the most important factor in putting a deal together. When one such expert was asked about the most important factors in business brokerage, he replied with this list: 

  • Assurance that the sale will close promptly
  • Deal terms (cash, stock, notes, all cash at closing, earn outs, contingencies, etc.)
  • Total price and/or consideration
  • Legal issues

In many cases, the legal issues can make or break a deal. The expert mentioned above feels strongly that the Representations and Warranties requested by the buyer should be submitted along with the Letter of Intent. He feels that the business shouldn't be removed from the market until there is basic agreement on the Representations and Warranties - this negotiation may be more complex than that of price, especially if the buyer is not willing to bend.