Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The deal is not done until it’s done.



After 20 months of working with a vendor client to achieve a transaction that accomplished most of the owner’s priorities and the target values ($9M), the vendor walked away from signing the purchase and sale agreement 2 days before closing. At first this seemed like a ridiculous outcome. In debriefing the client later, the client confirmed he agreed to how and why the deal was structured the way it was.  So why not close?

The client eventually shared he walked away because he was not able to overcome the anxiety about what he would do after the deal closed including what he would do with the money. He heard stories of people getting large sums of money and then a few years later having none left. This seemed to have eroded his confidence in how he would manage his future. He knew his business and could live with the ups and downs; the thought of starting out with something new overwhelmed him. After finding out his business was worth buying he started to re-evaluate his priorities. He wanted to be in charge of his destiny. The idea of handing someone the money for his 20 years of blood, sweat and tears on the basis of trusting them to protect his future simply was not comprehensible.

Bottom line: people change their minds and the deal is not done until it is done.