What is the typical timeline for selling a company?

Q: What is the typical timeline for selling a company?

For both my start-ups as a founder, the timeline was 5 years. And also 60 days.

What I mean is, in both cases, we “met” the acquirer (public companies) about 5 years before we were acquired. That gave them a chance to meet up, learn about us, and see us grow into the valuations.

And when the timing was right (for different reasons) — the actual transactions took about 60 days from “We’d interested in build / buy / partner” to a signed purchase agreement. (Note: closing takes longer because you need government approvals, etc.).

And the very first time I went through it as a start-up exec, it was 3 years (from when we knew each other) and 30 days (from Let’s Buy You to Signed Deal). So a bit faster, but same chronology.

If it doesn’t happen in 60 days from “We’re Really Interested” to Signed Acquisition Docs, there’s usually an issue. It’s usually not actually time.

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Published on February 14, 2020

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