A frequently overlooked, but often key factor to a successful acquisition lies in a balance sheet item that doesn’t even exist prior to the acquisition – goodwill. The difference between the purchase price and the book value of a company, goodwill is actually created and recognized through the accounting process following an acquisition, and reflects the premium paid for what I consider to be the “personality” of the company.
I would suggest there is a subtle but important distinction between selling a company and successfully getting it acquired. In both cases, it is imperative that the positive characteristics are emphasized and that the negative attributes are minimized. However, whereas selling a company is largely an exercise in documentation, valuation, marketing and process, getting a company acquired is more about evangelizing the personality of your organization.