Preparing the Company for Sale

March 2006
by Howard W. Fisher and Daniel R. Siburg

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Potential buyers for a
publishing company generally look hard at certain aspects of it, and vanish if
they do not like what they find. Fortunately, the same practices that will help
you run your publishing house more efficiently and effectively on a daily basis
will also help you position it for an advantageous sale.

Revenues and Sales

Buyers want to purchase—and
are willing to pay more for—companies whose revenues have been increasing
year after year because continually improving sales indicate that a company is
well run, both operationally and financially. In other words, revenue growth
shows a buyer that the publishing company’s products are selling and that there
is a high probability of recouping the purchase price.

Buyers are not willing to pay for
a publisher with flat or decreasing year-to-year revenues, poorly run
operations, and weak financial information and infrastructure.

Accordingly, a strong sales
program is key. It should include maintaining or growing sales throughout
negotiations with a serious prospective buyer to ensure that sales do not fall
before the deal is final. And it should involve concentrating on increasing
revenues in every sales channel you use—regular, special, foreign,
domestic, and rights related—both before you put the comp

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