On the road to selling your business you will likely come face to face with someone claiming that they can sell your business to an overseas buyer for more than it is worth. Despite recent actions taken by the ACCC against unscrupulous vendors (1) making these claims, the myth about overseas buyers continues to plague business sellers.
Advertising overseas will cost as much if not more than it does in Australia and knowing the truth about overseas buyers could save you a lot of wasted money.
So, if you’re thinking of selling your business through a business agency now or at any time down the road, take the time to arm yourself with the myths and facts about overseas buyers.
Myth: Many overseas buyers are willing to pay up to three times what a business is worth.
Fact: If somebody has enough money to pay three times a business’s value you can assume one thing about them: They have a lot of money. There are only a handful of ways to get a lot of money, and most of them revolve around being a savvy investor and/or a good business person, neither of whom would even think about paying three times anything’s value.
Myth: The overseas market is brimming with buyers for the Australian market.
Fact: Though there is a chance of selling to an overseas buyer, unless you are a major international, that chance is insignificantly remote. In fact, one of the sites we use to sell businesses have portals in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Luxembourg and new Zealand. So technically we advertise businesses for sale in an overseas forum. So why don’t we advertise that we have ‘overseas buyers’? Because the number of overseas buyers is infinitesimally smaller than the number of local buyers and it would be close to unethical to even mention them.
So, knowing what you know now, exactly what percentage of businesses do you think actually sell to overseas buyers? Based on a survey of the Australian Institute of Business Broker’s 353 Members, in the 2012 financial year only 2.6% of businesses were actually sold to overseas buyers or to overseas entities.(2)
In summary, only a tiny, tiny fraction of buyers come from overseas. The ones that do aren’t looking to bankrupt themselves to get a visa, they are good business people and they have the time to be picky. So in short, if anybody tells you they can sell your business for more than its worth to overseas buyers, they’re probably not the business agent for you.
By Zoran Sarabaca
Have you ever been told by an agent that they can sell your business to an overseas buyer? OR have you actually sold your business to an overseas buyer? We’d like to here from you!
To find out more about this topic or if have any questions about business sales make sure you give us a call on (02) 9817 3331 or submit a response or enquiry through the site. We look forward to talking to you.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended as information only and should not be taken as professional business advice.