Seller Representation

Are you considering selling your firm? Then you must first honestly answer three key questions:

Is it the right time to sell?
Who is the right partner?
What is the right price and structure?

The first question is one you must answer on your own. In the end, the timing decision is more emotional than analytical, and advisors who claim to know market timing are about as reliable as advisors who “predict” the tops and bottoms of the stock market.

The second and third questions are a different story. Here is where a trusted advisor can be your most important ally.

CFA’s seller representation includes objective, confidential, professional, and timely advice about pricing, deal structure, and prospective partners. Because we’ve spent many years working directly for buyers on a repeat basis, we offer unique insights into how most buyers:

  • analyze transactions
  • negotiate terms that restrict your post-deal autonomy
  • structure deals to maximize their own returns by minimizing seller returns

We strengthen your negotiating position by creating demand among buyers and managing the sales process to create a sense of urgency. And we identify deal terms that many advisors overlook. As a result, you—like these satisfied CFA clients—are able to negotiate the deal to increase your price, reduce your post-deal covenants, and secure your future benefits if you decide to remain an active manager after the sale.


A regional bank was interested in buying our client, a local agency, to help launch and develop the bank’s insurance initiatives. We worked with our client to develop a post-deal strategic and financial plan that showed the bank how the agency intended to rapidly and effectively grow the joint operations. The plan created a significant point of differentiation for our client and enabled us to negotiate terms that reflected both the market value of the agency and the projected value of the joint operations. Approximate value added: $2,100,000.

Reduce Covenants

Our client and the buyer were at an impasse: The buyer’s board would not approve the deal if any alterations were made to the language of the representations and warranties. We put the lawyers on hold, working with both parties to establish structured limits of economic damages that could be recovered if our client violated the representations and warranties. This allowed the buyer to satisfy its board and our client to limit his post-deal exposure. Approximate value added: $600,000.

Future Benefits

Our client had negotiated a transaction in which he would be rewarded for future growth of the combined operations. But because the contract specified that the seller’s employment could be terminated at any time, those rewards were in jeopardy. We worked with both parties to negotiate a buyout clause that stipulated that if the buyer terminated the seller’s employment, he would owe our client a predetermined sum based on anticipated future performance. Approximate value added: $1,400,000