Even if you haven’t taken an economics course, you are most likely aware of the essential dynamics behind the laws of supply and demand. You probably see it in your industry and business all the time.
The M&A market sees it too. Fundamentally if there are more sellers than buyers in the market, there is excess supply, and valuations tend to drop and it takes much longer to close transactions (a buyer's market).
Conversely, if there are more active buyers than sellers at any given time, a “seller’s market” ignites. We are in one now – valuations tend to increase, and the time it takes to close transactions generally decreases (all other factors being equal).
That is why we are passionate about educating baby boomer business owners about one staggering fact:
“On the supply side, we have about 60 percent of the 15 million privately held businesses in the U.S. are owned by business owners born before 1964,” says Christopher Nicholas, Shields & Co., at ACG Boston’s DealSource Select.
If you are a baby boomer business owner, let that statistic sink in for a moment.
Sixty percent of 15 million is 9 million. Eventually all 9 million businesses will need to transition to new ownership as their baby boomer owners retire and move on. For the sake of our discussion, let’s assume that 50% of these 9 million either close the business, sell to their employees, or pass the company on to their children.
That leaves a staggering 4.5 million that will need to transition to new owners via an M&A event over the next 15 years or so. Again, keeping the math easy, that is roughly 300,000 that will need to find buyers per year.
So What’s the Issue?
How does that sound to you? Well, the key information you are lacking is the number of businesses sold annually now in the U.S. According to Dealogic, between 2007 and 2016 (ten years’ worth of data), 100,373 M&A deals were announced in the U.S., or about 10K annually.
Even if you are bad at math, that means over the next 15 years we will have a staggering increase in the number of baby boomer business owners in market looking for buyers AT THE SAME TIME, far surpassing the number of deals completed right now.
What will that do to the law of supply and demand for transactions? Drive down valuations overall and significantly increase the time it takes to find a buyer.
“Now, wait,” you say. “Hold on. Lots and lots of transactions occur in the U.S. every year that are never reported or documented.” This is true. It is estimated that at least 50% to 60% of transactions go unreported every year. So even if we factor that into the 100K announced in the last 10 years, it still means that the number of pending baby boomer transactions will swamp the market.
What does this mean to you as the owner of a business? Simply this: It is much better to move now and find a buyer than wait. It is estimated that far too many baby boomers will delay action until the latter stages of this 15-year time frame and that is when the real seller’s crunch will occur.
The good news is that Generational Equity is here to help. We hold highly educational exit planning conferences designed to help business owners learn how to beat this baby boomer selling tsunami. If you are interested in learning more, use the following links:
And no matter what you end up doing with your business, don’t get caught in the after-wash of this tidal wave of deal closings over the next 15 years!
By Carl Doerksen, Director of Corporate Development at Generational Equity.
© 2021 Generational Equity, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Your wisdom and experience were invaluable to me during this once-in-a-lifetime transaction.Ralph Noblin, President of Noblin & Associates
I would like to thank you and your firm, Generational Equity, for being our valued advisors in our journey.Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
We knew it would be a difficult task to have someone really understand our business and our market, prior to researching a possible buyer, so it was imperative that we found someone of your caliber, with definite proven experience in this area.Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
Generational Equity’s assistance was invaluable in compiling and marketing our business.Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
We are very happy with the end result, and are very happy to be able to move forward with all of our future growth plans.Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
Michael worked tirelessly, He followed every lead meticulously and urgently to make sure nothing was missed.Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
T.D., thank you so much! You are a great leader! I love how you are using your gifts and talents to better others. You are clearly a GREAT COACH! This 3 day session undoubtedly changed the future of our business, and very well may have been the sole catalyst to save my company, my health and my marriage! A genuine “thank you” from the bottom of my heart.Bryan D. Horn, Owner, Over Under Clothing
Dear Chris and Andre, I just wanted to say thanks for all your help. Even though this process was not an easy one, it was comforting to know that I had a capable team standing beside me. You made me feel like we were almost your only client or at least the most important one. Thanks again, and I will recommend your service in the future.Shenille Engelhart, Owner – CLS Technology
The help you provided us during each step of this process made us feel very comfortable and confident we were selecting the right approach to transition our Company.Andy Graham, Vice President, Modern Heating & Plumbing
I wanted to write you a quick letter to express our appreciation and our delight on the outcome of helping us through the process of our recent sale. We are very happy with the end result, and are very happy to be able to move forward with all of our future growth plans.Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
Greetings Mike. Thank you for the captivating and compelling presentation you made at the Phoenix presentation last week. Over many years in business yours was the most informative and well-presented presentation, on any subject, that I have ever attended! Your energy and enthusiasm combined with your concise and captivating support of your positions with easily understood examples and data was compelling.Pete L.
We are extremely pleased with the way Generational Equity handled the sale of our company. Your associates, Tom and Chris, did an outstanding job of getting us (me) through the process.Michael J Polarek, President, Paragon Packaging
I must say that I have never worked with a more driven, competent and focused individual as Don Ho.Jay Dinnison, Owner of Sharpe Mixers
I am pleased that I was able to work with Andrew Byrd throughout this experience. From the first meeting we had in Minneapolis I felt that I was in good hands. His knowledge and expertise is second to none. He guided the process consistently throughout. I feel lucky that I was pared with Andrew and could not be happier that I chose Generational Equity to handle this major life event. Thank you Andrew and GenEq for everything!Eric Erlandson, Owner, Action Fastenings, Inc.
We thank you Eric and Generational Equity making our dream come true.Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
Bruce and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Generational Equity for assigning Musa Jagne to our transaction. In Bruce’s words, “Musa did one hell of a job for us!”Karen S. Williams, CFO, BW Manufacturing
I need to say an immense thank you to Don Ho for his stellar work ethic, attention to detail, and tireless effort. Also thank you to the whole crew at GE! Without you, Don could not do such a phenomenal job. We were shooting for closing and funding before the end of 2020, due to the uncertainty of the political landscape and taxes. I am happy to report we closed last week and will be funding tomorrow.Dr. Caty J. Catron PhD, RN, VA-BC – Owner, Vic The Picc, LLC
Thanks again Phil and feel free to have a future client call me if they would like a referral. You are a true professional!Andy Graham, Vice President, Modern Heating & Plumbing
We will highly recommend Generational Equity and Musa Jagne to any business owner about to embark on the same process.Karen S. Williams, CFO, BW Manufacturing
We were happy to see the interest in our company and what we cherished has not just a valuable company but an important company to the communities we served in.Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
Tom Staszak is one of the most professional people I have dealt with in my last forty years of business. You’ve got a great group of people and you have built a truly professional organization.Michael J Polarek, President, Paragon Packaging
Generational Equity educated and informed us – so that we could be on the upside of a good decision (to sell).Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
I couldn’t have asked for a better team than Michael and Deborah. We couldn’t have done it without them.Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
The process was much more involved than I expected and your help, experience and advice was a big factor in making the negotiations go as smoothly as possible.Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
I quickly recognized that Don was working for Sharpe Mixers above all else, and held our interests above others.Jay Dinnison, Owner of Sharpe Mixers
Thank you again for all your guidance and support. Any company will achieve what they intend, if they have you on their team!Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
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