Selling a Successful Company: How Interweave Engineered Its Acquisition

October 2005
by Jenny McCune

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About a year and a half ago,
Linda Ligon knew the time had come for her and her publishing company,
Interweave Press, to start a new chapter.

Ligon founded Interweave—now
a publisher of more than 150 books on crafts, as well as craft magazines that
include Spin Off
and Handwoven—in
1975 in Loveland, CO. After 30 years of operating what was originally going to
be a short-term, part-time business, she wanted to put the wheels in motion for
her eventual exit, and she made a promise to herself to ensure her company’s
viability even after she was gone. Of course, she had concerns about selling.
“I had a whole midlife crisis about it,” Ligon says with a laugh. “I think
anyone who had built a business out of love for it and its market would have
the same kind of feelings.”

Taking Advantage of a Boom

Although there are numerous ways
for a founder to exit a business—by selling to an individual employee or
outsider, for instance, or transferring ownership to a child, or engineering an
employee stock ownership program and making employees the owners—the best
option for Interweave and Ligon turned out to be a straight sale. “The last
number of years I was thinking about how to create continuity for the
business,” Ligon recalls. “None of my children was interested. Interweave had a
strong management team, but th

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