This is a difficult question to answer. However, it will take as long as it takes but will influenced by a number of key factors including:
- How much are you prepared to pay?
- How will a transaction be funded? Cash purchases are much quicker to transact than with external funding.
- How many others are interested in buying the same company? Competitive tension will usually cause the process to be longer than if you are a single bidder
- How unique or ‘special’ is the business?
- How well is the business performing now and how well has it performed in the last two to three years?
- What is the current economic climate for buying businesses in this sector?
- How much time can you dedicate to the process and what is your availability for meetings?
On average, the following guidelines can generally be considered reasonable:
- Information gathering:- 2 weeks
- Preparation of list of potential sellers:- 2 to 6 weeks
- Market research:- 8 to 12 weeks
- Meetings & offers:- 4 to 8 weeks
- Negotiation with preferred bidder & signing of Heads of Terms:- around 4 weeks
- Deal execution:- around 12 weeks
- Total:- Between 6 and 12 months