Main Street & Middle Market transactions are most often delineated by the size of the business either in terms of revenue or earnings. There is not a universally accepted definition of size and, most often, a business intermediary firm will adopt a specialty formula. The majority of lower middle market companies fall in an area where they are too small for investment banks and too large for the average business broker. Engaging a business intermediary firm who has the capabilities to properly represent your company will be critical. Often the business size is not the only distinguishing characteristic defining Main Street from Middle Market businesses. The industry, the complexity of the transaction, the depth & breadth of management, the presence of intellectual propriety or private brands, as well as the type of buyer that is targeted will also have an impact on the methods used to package the business for sale. The chart below details some of the typical differences in how the two types of businesses are defined, valued, packaged for sale, and confidentially marketed. It is important to note that the chart is only a guideline as many businesses will reflect similar attributes. Please consult with your local business intermediary to determine how your business should be treated.
•Business Revenue: Less than $3,000,000
•Business Earnings: Less than $1,000,000
•Type of Sale: Asset Sale
•Buyers: Entrepreneurs or Displaced Corporate Executives
•Business Valuation: Based on Sellers Discretionary Earnings (SDE)
•Financial Statements: Owner, CPA Compiled
•Business Management: Acquirer is buying a job. Existing management is less critical.
•Complexity: Transaction can often be accomplished with less complicated “boiler plate” agreements.
•Confidential Marketing: Marketing to a very broad buyer base.
•Marketing Package: Confidential Business Review.
•Pricing: Marketed with a specific asking price.
•Broker/M&A Fee Structure.
•Retainers: Minimal Retainer.
Lower Middle Market:
•Business Revenue: $3,000,000 – $75,000,000
•Business Earnings: Greater than $1,000,000
•Type of Sale: Asset Sale or Stock Sale.
•Buyers: Corporate Buyer or Private Equity Group (PEG).
•Business Valuation: Based on EBITDA.
•Financial Statements: Reviewed or Audited Financials.
•Business Management: Current management is often a key driver to the acquisition
•Complexity: Deal structure can be very complex requiring customized legal documents.
•Confidential Marketing: Highly targeted direct marketing to strategic & financial buyers.
•Marketing Package: Comprehensive Offering Memorandum.
•Pricing: Asking price is rarely listed in the Offering Memorandum.
•Broker/M&A Fee Structure: Double Lehman/Negotiated.
•Retainers: Monthly Fee.