How Long Does an Acquisition Take?

As you consider acquisition as a route to growth, you may be wondering: How long will the whole process take? This is one of the most frequent questions I hear when laying out an acquisition plan. The answer is never easy to pin down. I’ve worked on acquisitions that were completed in a month, while others took years to finish.

Generally speaking, if you are starting from scratch and following the Roadmap approach that I advocate, you should be able to close on your first acquisition within twelve to eighteen months. If you push any faster, it is unlikely that you will have time to do the necessary research and examine a sufficient volume of markets and prospects.

Many factors impact the timeframe, including the size of the target, the complexity of the transaction, and the psychology of the parties involved. Another factor is your own level of decisiveness. I still have clients who are hesitant to act or who enjoy the dance more than closing the deal. Speed of decision-making is one of the most significant determinants of the time it takes to complete an acquisition. Adopting my Roadmap approach, which is based on a history of successful real-world transactions, should give you confidence to pull the trigger and make the right acquisition when the opportunity appears.

*This post was adapted from David Braun’s Successful Acquisition, available at

Photo Credit: photosteve101 via Compfight cc