April 6, 2016
By Robert Koenig
When Claude Rains declares “Round up the usual suspects” in Casablanca he really could have been talking about the average approach to lower middle market M&A. That is to say, most firms focus on roughly 100-150 likely buyers when they market a company for sale.
I built my firm, Woodbridge International, differently.
My thinking was, back in 1993, that broad-based, aggressive, multi-channel marketing was the key to finding more buyers. I knew that competition drove price. Over the years this core belief has quietly established Woodbridge International as the most unique, client-centric firm serving the lower middle market.
At the core of our beliefs, among many other things, is the fundamental agreement our team lives by: that we will never know enough about potential buyers to take a narrow approach. How is that for you?
What we're saying in fact is “we don't know”
When you break this admission down into its components, this fearless embrace of the unknown in fact gives our clients a great deal of confidence in our approach. Here is why.
Our team approach is built on thoroughly exploring each these possibilities with our clients, conducting exhaustive buyer research, and producing buyer target lists that are routinely 4000-6000 potential buyers.
We want more buyers because more buyers give our clients the opportunity to extract the maximum value in a sale transaction. And in the end what we've found is that 75% of the time our clients had never heard of their ultimate buyer.
That's why we don't just cover a couple of hundred ‘likely’ buyers. Our experience is that it's also absolutely critical to round up the UN-usual suspects.