BizBuySell.com Reports Fourth Quarter 2008 Decline in Volume of Business-for-Sale Transactions
Fewer deals are getting done, and completed deals are closing with lower business valuations relative to a year ago.
San Francisco, CA -- January 7, 2009 -- BizBuySell.com, the Internet's largest marketplace for buying or selling a small business, today released economic data that suggests the business-for-sale market is suffering in the down economy.
According to BizBuySell.com's Fourth Quarter Insights Report, the number of closed transactions reported to BizBuySell.com in the Fourth Quarter 2008 dropped 20% as compared with the same time period in 2007 – from 1,541 transactions to 1,232. Closed transactions are reported to BizBuySell.com by business brokers nationwide.
"Clearly, the market faces a number of hurdles right now that make it more difficult to get deals done," says Mike Handelsman, general manager of BizBuySell.com. "There is still a lot of activity and many deals are getting done, but there has definitely been a slowdown relative to what we saw last year."
Popular Business Valuation Metrics Are Down
In addition to fewer completed deals, BizBuySell.com notes a decline in the metrics that are used to value companies. Compared to the same quarter last year, both revenue multiples and cash flow multiples have declined.
Revenue multiples on reported closed transactions dropped from 0.687 to 0.685 year over year, representing a 0.3% decline. Similarly, cash flow multiples dropped from 2.80 to 2.68, representing a 4.5% decline. The revenue and cash flow multiples are calculated by dividing the selling price of the business by its reported annual revenue or cash flow.
"Declining valuation multiples imply that there is considerable uncertainty about future revenue and cash flows for small businesses," notes Handelsman. "In this economic environment, buyers are going to be skeptical about whether a business can maintain the same level of revenues and cash flows going forward. That plays out in their offering a lower price for a given business than they might have offered in better times."
The median sales price for closed transactions also declined year over year, from $187,700 to $177,500.
BizBuySell.com believes that limited access to capital is also playing a role in dropping sales prices. There are simply few buyers who have capital to buy a business, and fewer opportunities for potential buyers to get access to traditional sources of capital such as SBA-backed small business loans. As such, fewer buyers are available to bid on a business and there is limited upward pricing pressure.
Key Takeaways for Would-Be Business Buyers or Sellers
The current market presents a unique set of opportunities and considerations for business buyers and sellers. BizBuySell.com says buyers and sellers should take note of the following market phenomena:
The BizBuySell.com Fourth Quarter Insights Report includes business-for-sale metrics for the nation and for more than 70 metropolitan areas. Metrics are also available by industry and business type. The current Insights Report comprises data from 1,232 closed transactions and more than 38,000 active listings.
For more information on the BizBuySell.com Fourth Quarter Insights Report, visit /news/media_insight.html
BizBuySell is the Internet's largest business for sale marketplace. Since 1996, BizBuySell has offered tools that make it easy for business owners and brokers to sell a business, and potential buyers to find the business of their dreams. BizBuySell currently has an inventory of approximately businesses - spanning 80 countries - for sale at any one time and receives more than monthly visits. The site also features an extensive franchise directory as well as an easy-to-use business valuation tool. Please visit www.bizbuysell.com for more information.
BizBuySell was founded in 1996 and in 2012 became a division of CoStar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ - CSGP) - commercial real estate's leading provider of information and analytic services. CoStar conducts expansive, ongoing research to produce and maintain the largest and most comprehensive database of commercial real estate information and offers a suite of online services enabling clients to analyze, interpret and gain unmatched insight on commercial property values, market conditions and current availabilities. For more information, visit www.costar.com.
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