When to Mention Acquisition to an Owner

When do you let an owner of a privately-held not-for-sale company know you are interested in acquisition?

While, I’ve mentioned that an owner will not sell their company over the phone, this doesn’t mean you should hide your interest in acquisition. You should introduce acquisition at the beginning of the process. In your first call with an owner, use the word “acquisition.”

People tend to gravitate toward a softer approach out of fear. They might say, something like “We want to explore ways to work together,” when really they want to do an acquisition.

I find this approach does not work well.  It’s much easier introduce the idea of acquisition to an owner and move down to other approaches like joint venture or strategic alliances than to do the opposite. If you know you want to do an acquisition, get it on the table early in the process so you can determine the owner’s equation.

The question was asked during Capstone’s webinar “The First Date”: Contacting Owners and Successful First Meetings.