How can you be comfortable revealing sensitive financial information? Once you think through these practical realities, it will become fairly easy.
First, think about where you do not want this information to go. Very likely, you don’t want employees or competitors to know that you are thinking of selling. And you would not want them to have your financial data.
Also, if the potential buyer, sometimes called a “suitor”, is a cross-town competitor, the situation is potentially more sensitive. Most of the transactions we engage in are outside of our market area, although we have completed two transactions in our hometown.
It’s possible that a suitor might have some sinister reason for deliberately or carelessly revealing your information. But this is exceedingly rare, and I can’t imagine what the situation would be. This kind of tactic might be seen in high-level, complex stock transactions of public companies, but even those situations are rare. And it’s why they make the news.
In nearly every garden variety acquisition scenario, it’s also in the suitor’s interest to keep things confidential. The suitor has a reputation of integrity to protect, if he or she wants to be take seriously in the M&A marketplace. The suitor is motivated in the same way you are – to keep things quiet and to keep you happy.
As a practical matter, parties to a possible transaction can easily sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). These are commonplace. Templates for NDAs are available online. We also offer them at the very beginning of communication about a possible deal, and we have a template that we can quickly adapt. Or you, as the seller, can provide your own. It’s also possible to engage an attorney even in early-stage negotiations.
We ensure sellers that we keep all communication confidential, with or without an NDA. Your information is safe with us and is of no value if either party decides not to complete the transaction.