There is no “right” or “wrong” way to sell your veterinary practice, but having a general process certainly helps to keep you organized and prepared. At Ackerman Group, through many years of brokering practices, we’ve built a tried-and-true approach to selling veterinary clinics. While every practice is different, our thoughtful and intentional process is designed to yield strong outcomes time and again. But with an increasing number of buyers entering the space (now more than 30!), there’s more complexities and differentiated terms to navigate. We recommend working with a broker who’s experienced and familiar with the nuances of both the industry and the process itself. Let’s look at our main steps in the transaction process:
- Sign the Ackerman Group Engagement Letter. The Engagement Letter essentially outlines the partnership between you and Ackerman Group. Once you sign this agreement, the transition process kicks off!
- Initial Data Collection. Our team requests certain financial information that allows us to determine your Trailing Twelve Months (TTM) normalized EBITDA. This figure is a key measure that buyers use to assess your practice’s value.
- Normalized EBITDA. After we compile the normalized EBITDA analysis, we’ll present the results, answer any questions, and get your buy-in on the numbers.
- Marketing Package. Through our conversations about your practice as well as our market knowledge, our team creates a concise and thoughtful marketing package for buyers. This ‘package’ highlights the upside opportunities and the ‘story’ of your practice in a way that buyers will clearly understand.
- Meeting Buyers. There is a three to five-week period dedicated to video calls and meetings with potential buyers. In these meetings, you learn about their organizations and tell your story. Getting to know potential buyers and giving them a chance to assess your fit with their organizations is key here.
- Letters of Intent (LOIs). As the name implies, buyers send in proposals, or Letters of Intent, that express their interest in and intent to purchase your practice. We evaluate the LOIs together.
- Negotiations and Signing the LOI. After one to three weeks of negotiating terms and further evaluating potential buyers, you sign the LOI. The signed LOI indicates that you’ll negotiate with only one buyer to reach a closing.
- Due Diligence and Legal Documentation. Eight to 12 weeks are spent providing more practice data to the buyer and negotiating detailed legal documents with attorneys. We also integrate with your CPA and financial advisor for any specific business, personal, or tax needs in these areas.
- Transition Planning. In the last three to four weeks before closing, we recommend communicating with your staff and Associates about the sale and what they can expect.
- Closing. Money and ownership are officially transferred!
The transition process can take anywhere from five to seven months once the Engagement Letter is signed. The typical bottlenecks we see on both sides include delays in gathering data from you (so we can perform the normalized EBITDA analysis), and when buyers are backlogged with deals (where their legal or integration teams are stretched thin). Regardless, our goal is always to make the process as educational and seamless as possible for you, while handling all the complexities, bottlenecks, and negotiations on your behalf.