Executives considering selling their business have a lot to think about, from the possible purchase price to how employees and the broader community might be affected. Just as important to consider is that a sale doesn’t necessarily have to be an “all-or-nothing” proposition—and that a partial sale can provide continued involvement and ownership flexibility.

In the video below, William Blair’s Andy Jessen and Dan Connolly describe the pros and cons of a full sale and a partial sale and how an advisor can help you navigate these complex decisions.

Video Transcript

For company founders and family owners, the opportunity to sell your business can be exciting and intimidating. The stakes are high both emotionally and financially. As one of the leading independent, private-partnership investment banks in the world, we understand the nuances of selling businesses and how to carefully advise and guide owners, and their families, through these important and complex decisions.

We know that every client’s situation is unique, and our advice always starts with listening and seeking to understand your specific situation and objectives. When considering a sale or capital raise, things like value, price, cash proceeds, and how much ownership to retain are clearly important considerations. But it is just as critical to consider the effects on employees and their families, the community at large, the legacy of your ownership, and the future stewardship of your family’s enterprise.

There’s no such thing as a “typical” transaction, and selling your business doesn’t have to be an “all-or-nothing” proposition. Sometimes we advise our clients to explore a partial sale, which provides sellers with continued involvement and control over the go-forward ownership. This also means an owner can get a “second bite of the apple” by participating in another, even more financially rewarding transaction in the future.

Although partial sales provide owners with flexibility, there can be drawbacks if your deal isn’t structured optimally. You will likely transition from being the sole decision-maker to working alongside a new ownership group. Finding the right type of partner and determining what role the current owners want to play are critically important.

We believe owners and founders are best served by advisors who understand their journey and how a transaction will affect the many people around them—your family, customers, employees, and your community.

You deserve advisors whom you can trust to provide thoughtful, holistic guidance, and who will make your goals their own. As partners and owners ourselves, this is who we are and what we do at William Blair. We invite you to learn more about how we can help you to optimize your goals as a business owner.