We are looking to sell our web hosting business and have some questions for those of you more experienced with acquisitions:
Is the whole company usually bought or just parts, such as the customer list, servers, brands, domains, company sites, billing software, support helpdesk, merchant account, etc? Which parts are usually acquired?
If buying cPanel accounts, are these kept on the acquired company's servers or copied to the buyer's servers?
How is the selling price paid to the buyer? Escrow? If so, how do the parties agree on a trustworthy, impartial escrow service?
Well, It obviously depends on the deal you reach with said company, Personally we would just buy the clients and transfer them to our servers. But if a good deal comes along we would consider purchasing everything, but support software and billing software would be of no use as We already have those. You can use w/e payment option you agree on, Escrow is ok, but if you want to, get a sale contract done, then it should be done properly. If the value is more than a $2,000 Use a Lawyer !
You should do some research in the advertising section as there has been to many companies to list for sale. This will give you an idea of what price to look for and what information prospective buyers will want to see right away.
If you are going to require an NDA then make sure it is ready. We have seen a couple well I do not have an NDA but I require it. You do not have one sitting around to send us.
I have actually seen this not to long ago from a company that wanted to sell. So research those forums to get some ideas and good informatation. If have most of this ready ahead of time than you will be able to send it out fast.
I think once an actual listing is done you will get flooded with questions from prospective buyers depending on what you have on the table.
We've purchased about a dozen smaller company's over the years and have always merged their customers into one of our main brands.
If they have their own servers, then we usually migrate the customer's off and then onto our own servers, since we prefer to keep our servers in our own choice of DC where we have physical access, know the network connectivity is good, etc..
We use escrow.com for sales over $5k, and a lawyer for anything over $10k.
If you're looking to sell, send me a PM. Also, don't forget to post your offer into the "offers and request" forums here...
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There's no set list of rules with acquisitions, it differs according to the deal and circumstances. You need to put an ad first about your company, you'll get a number of offers..take it from there and see where the flow takes you..normally you'll make a short list of the people you feel comfortable dealing with and then you start comparing, one for example will offer you a 50% payment at first and then offer you monthly payments, others will give you 90% and then 10% after 60 days..
In regards to what parts you want to sell, again..you'll be getting offers from people who only want the clients, others will want to take the whole thing..it'll be up to you what you choose to sell
In regards to payments, there are a lot of options here, escrow is one. If there's a good trust relationship between buyer and seller, a down payment can be made, where you can give partial control to the buyer and then full control on paying up the rest .. All terms of the deal are subject to discussion, follow your gut feeling with these deals and don't do something you won't feel comfortable about because there are a lot of people who're interested in buying companies, if you're not feeling good about one deal, you'll find another that'll better suit what you have on mind
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