CASE STUDY: Unsolicited Buyer

Cornerstone’s Challenge: An Unexpected Offer

Our clients got a big surprise the day an industry powerhouse called and asked if their company was for sale. They were barely into their 40s and hadn’t had any thoughts about selling their propane dealership. Business was good and they liked the work. But the buyer threw out a number that piqued their interest.

Entering into one-on-one negotiations is rarely a good idea. Your industry’s biggest companies have acquisition experts who do nothing but buy out smaller firms, all day, every day. They know how to say the right words, gain your trust, and then convince you you’re getting a good deal.

Our clients knew they needed someone to represent their best interests in this one-time opportunity. We knew that meant bringing additional buyers to the table. We had to move quickly to generate new interest and create a confidential and competitive auction environment, without losing the key industry player they already had.

 Our Approach: Move Quickly

  1. Ramp Up. We brought in additional team resources to accelerate our industry research and quickly began reaching out to the top 40 candidates across the country.
  2. Set Expectations. Potential buyers understood they needed to meet our deadlines or risk being eliminated from the process.
  3. Negotiate With Leverage. We generated five additional Letters of Intent, in addition to the initial buyer. Now, as we went through the rounds of counter offers, our clients could negotiate from a position of power.

Results: Sold in Less than 90 Days for 25% More than Unsolicited Offer

The aggressive timeline paid off, and we were at the closing table just 2 months and 25 days after engagement. That top industry player—the one who made the initial inquiry—stayed with us through the whole process. But in the end, they were not the successful buyer.

The final purchase price came in at 23% above the initial unsolicited offer. That’s money our clients would have left on the table had they decided to go it alone.