Buying or selling a bowling center involves much more than simply putting a buyer and seller together. Once the interest has been identified, the due diligence process will make or break the deal. Having someone who is experienced in all aspects of the process improves the likelihood of a successful closing.
Buying & Selling
A change of business ownership is always challenging.
- Many sellers are concerned that bowlers will find out their center is for sale and leave for a competing center or that their employees will leave for another job which seems more stable. As a result, they may be unwilling to allow their broker to properly market the business. The seller’s tax returns may use creative tax planning that distorts the cash flow of the business, generally to their disadvantage. It is not unusual for a seller to wait too long before selling, leaving a number of problems that were created by the seller’s poor health or family issues to be solved by the buyer. All of these factors may have a negative impact on the sales price, which the seller is often unwilling to acknowledge.
- Buyers can bring unrealistic expectations to the negotiations that make reaching an agreement on price challenging. Lenders often consider first time buyers to be too high of a risk to finance. One lender found that 80% of their loan defaults came from first time buyers. This concern may lead a seller to refuse an offer from an otherwise qualified buyer or for a buyer to struggle to find financing once a purchase agreement is signed. Potentially most challenging, industry data on comparable sales is difficult to find, leaving both buyers and sellers unable to negotiate based on accurate information.
Cash flow and trends are the most critical part of the due diligence for both a buyer and lender. Sorting out the real from the wishful thinking takes time and experience. In addition, cash flow to a CPA is not necessarily cash flow to a buyer or lender. Understanding the differences can make or break a deal.
Negotiating these, and other potential issues, may challenge the most experienced broker. Adding a lender to the equation may delay, or even kill a deal. Ken has more than thirty years of negotiating complicated transactions, many of which were distressed business sales. His negotiating, accounting, tax, and lending experience can contribute to turning an impossible negotiation into a successful one.
A proprietor had been leasing his building for more than ten years and had the opportunity to buy it but didn’t have enough cash for a reasonable down payment.read more
A client had several children who had been working in his center for several years but were growing impatient to have real management responsibilities.read more
A proprietor wanted to sell his center and retire. He said that his tenant was interested in buying but didn’t have much money.read more
My clients had been leasing their building for more than ten years when the opportunity to buy it arose.read more