Most will agree: The more information you have prior to making a decision, the better. As a business owner, though, if someone is interested in acquiring your business, know that when we say the more information, the better, we really mean all information. From finances to employment concerns and assets, a potential acquirer will want to know it all.
Getting this level of detail is often referred to as the “due diligence investigation.” During this investigation, the acquirer is trying to learn everything there is to know about your company.
As an owner, you will be asked to provide information on your business related to:
- Finances and tax information: You will need to include everything from capital budgets to strategic plans and any auditor letters from the past five years; an acquirer will want to have a full and complete financial picture of your business.
- Employment matters: A potential acquirer wants to know everything there is to know about the employees who work for your company, including any allegations of misconduct or mistreatment, along with a current list of positions, salaries and bonuses for the past three years.
- Information related to intellectual property: Documents related to patents, as well as a schedule of any copyrights, trademarks or trade names, are all going to be reviewed. All agreements tied to intellectual property and inventions will also need to be included.
- Litigation: If your company has ever been involved in a litigation matter — or there were even threats of litigation — you can expect that an acquirer will want to know about it.
Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Rather, this is just a small glimpse into the type of information you will need to provide.
Prior to providing this information, though, as soon as there is interest in any type of merger or acquisition, as a business owner you should be reaching out to your attorney in order to make sure your rights and best interests are protected. This attorney will be able to guide you through the acquisition process.