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Thread: Confidentiality in purchase

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    Question Confidentiality in purchase

    Hello! I don't know if this is the correct place for this, but I have a question about confidentiality.

    I am looking to purchase a business that is not for sale in the field which I currently work. I would prefer to keep my name and my partners name confidential during the process of determining if the current owners would be wiling to sell, as I don't want it to effect my current work or have selling decisions based on personal knowledge of myself and my partner.

    What is the best way to go about this? I have hired a lawyer to go ask the current owners if they would be wiling to sell, but I am suspicious that the current owners would require knowledge of our identities before purchase. Is there a way around this? I am not concerned about the field that I work knowing that I intend to buy, but I would prefer that the owners make a neutral decision on selling as I am fairly young and they are very traditional (see: opinionated).

    I think they would be willing to sign confidentiality agreements after they sign an intent to sell and non-compete, but until then...

    Anyone have advice on how to proceed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by agentwelve View Post
    Hello! I don't know if this is the correct place for this, but I have a question about confidentiality.

    I am looking to purchase a business that is not for sale in the field which I currently work. I would prefer to keep my name and my partners name confidential during the process of determining if the current owners would be wiling to sell, as I don't want it to effect my current work or have selling decisions based on personal knowledge of myself and my partner.

    What is the best way to go about this? I have hired a lawyer to go ask the current owners if they would be wiling to sell, but I am suspicious that the current owners would require knowledge of our identities before purchase. Is there a way around this? I am not concerned about the field that I work knowing that I intend to buy, but I would prefer that the owners make a neutral decision on selling as I am fairly young and they are very traditional (see: opinionated).

    I think they would be willing to sign confidentiality agreements after they sign an intent to sell and non-compete, but until then...

    Anyone have advice on how to proceed?
    They won't request your name as there's no reason to. Think about it like this: if someone was actually serious about buying my business and they sent their lawyer first, I wouldn't care who hired that lawyer as long as my time wasn't being wasted.

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    I would use a lawyer or accountant to make the initial contact and to see if there is interest in selling. However, during your due diligence you will need to reveal yourself to the seller so you can see with your own eyes how the business is being run and so you can sit down and speak with any key employees.

    If you're good at what you are looking to buy into, and have the business smarts to run the place, your age shouldn't matter.
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    Yes, they will eventually need to know who you are. However, they won't need to know until you and they reach a preliminary agreement over the price (with a penalty for breaking the agreement without just cause). Once you have that, you can still adjust the price after doing due diligence, but it'll be hard for them to care once about your age once you and they reach a preliminary agreement.
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    No one cares about your age when you have the money. If you were looking for some kind of financing or partnership, maybe. But if not and you have the money they won't care if you're 18 or 80.
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    I don't think you ever know what the response will be until you give it a try. I would suggest having the attorney call them and see what they do say. I get a number of emails from brokers who claim to have a buyer for my business and usually put them in the trash without a second glance. Do I think the agents who send me those emails really have a buyer. No, I think they are hoping to trick me into giving them a listing. Probably if I was in the market to sell my business I might respond however.

    Everyone is different and for someone who really wants out of their business they might be open to most any reasonable offer. Personally, however if I was in the market to sell my business I would not sign any agreements to sell without knowing who the buyer was and what their plans were for the business. I don't think I would be overly concerned with the age of someone wanting to buy my business as long as they had the cash or funding. Actually I would like the idea of someone very young as a buyer. There are people I would hesitate to sell to however.
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    Quote Originally Posted by turboguy View Post
    There are people I would hesitate to sell to however.
    Why? What kind of people? Or do you mean specific people? If so, why? what are the reasons you would hesitate to sell to these specific people? I am not necessarily expecting specific answers, rather I am wondering what kind of insights, potentially helpful to the OP, might be gleaned from from further examination of this statement. (I am also wondering if there is more than just ageism in the OP's case, whether he or she recognizes him or herself as someone the current owners of the business "would hesitate to sell to.")

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    Quote Originally Posted by tallen View Post
    Why? What kind of people? Or do you mean specific people?
    Perhaps the best way I can answer is that I identify my business with myself, as part of myself I guess. If I were to sell it I would prefer to sell it to someone who I felt would run it much like I did. Secondly, it would be possible for someone to want to buy my business for the product lines we have and that could be someone who would want to relocate production to another place such as their main facility. I have some employees who have been with me for a long time and feel some loyalty to them as well. Additionally my son and daughter work in my business and as with my employees it would be nice to see them have a job.
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    Thanks. I think these are all valid considerations, and point out that oftentimes business is about more than just money -- something that prospective business purchasers (such as the OP?) might want to give some thought to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tallen View Post
    Why? What kind of people? Or do you mean specific people? If so, why?
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