How Long Will It Take to Buy a Business?

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