An Often Forgotten Source Of Business Acquisition Financing

Before Seeing Your Banker About Business Acquisition Financing, Perhaps You Should First Talk To the Vendor

More and more business acquisition financing is provided by the actual vendor or seller, not just your banker. And in many cases, bankers will not even entertain providing acquisition financing unless the vendor is contributing some amount of financing as well.

This is especially true with purchasing a small business where a good portion of the sale price is tied up in Goodwill. Most lenders will not finance 100% of the goodwill. Actually, most lenders won’t finance any goodwill without some amount of additional security, guarantee, or surety from the buyer.

The lenders logic is that if the vendor is so certain that the value for goodwill in the purchase price is valid, then they should have no problem providing the financing by basically deferring the portion of the proceeds earmarked to goodwill until an agreed upon time in the future.

There are a couple of other reasons why vendor financing is more common for acquisition financing than you may think.

First, any purchase and sale agreement I’ve ever seen always has some form of recourse present to protect the buyer against mispresentations of the seller and vise versa. By having the vendor provide some amount of financing towards the purchase, there is effectively a recourse fund in place which further protects both the buyer and any potential lender that also gets involved.

Second, by having an active stake in the business being sold in the form of a vendor loan , the vendor is highly motivated to provide a seamless transition to the new buyer as well as ongoing support if required.

Many times, the vendor will take the money and run after the completion of sale and payment of all the proceeds, leaving the buyer to deal with any unknowns or transitional problems that might arise. And depending on whose statistics you subscribe to, one of the top reasons for the failure of acquired businesses is due to poor ownership and management transition.

Vendors tend to not want to provide financing if they don’t have to, which only makes sense. However, failure to be open to vendor financing can also leave businesses unsold for several years as potential buyers are not able to secure enough lender financing without the vendor being involved.

About the Author Brent Finlay