Small Business Exit Transactions Jump 56% In First Quarter of 2013, According to BizBuySell.com Report

BizBuySell
April 8, 2013

BizBuySell.com Insight Report shows significant spike in business-for-sale market as compared to same time in 2012; Sales prices reach two-year high

San Francisco, CA - April 8, 2013 -- BizBuySell.com, the Internet's largest business-for-sale marketplace, reported today that small business sales increased 56% in the first quarter of 2013 as compared to the first quarter of 2012.

In total, 1,897 closed transactions were reported in Q1 2013, a dramatic bump over the 1,218 recorded in the same period of 2012. The number represents the highest number of businesses sold in a quarter since the second quarter of 2008. The 56% year-over-year jump is also the largest such increase since small business sales bottomed out in mid-2008. The results are included in BizBuySell.com's First Quarter 2013 Insight Report, which aggregates business-for-sale transactions reported by participating business brokers nationwide.

2013 Q1 Closed Small Business Transactions

The spike in small business sales can be attributed to a number of factors.

For a few years now, small businesses financials have been improving as the economy slowly recovers. Business owners who have been looking to exit their business, particularly baby boomers ready to retire, finally have their businesses in sellable shape and are more confident that they will receive an appropriate financial return on their sale. This proved true in the first quarter of 2013 as the median sale price of a sold business was $180,000, the highest level since 2009.

Business transaction fundamentals are strong with a latent supply of owners ready to sell and improving buyer demand due to ongoing unemployment, recovering stock portfolios and the slowly improving lending situation. Just last month a BizBuySell.com survey of national business brokers found that 75.2 percent of respondents said they are seeing the same or more deals getting done as compared to 2012. When asked about the number one factor causing the increase, the top two answers were the increase in the number of interested buyers and the increase in the number of owners looking to sell.

In addition to strengthening business results and fundamentals, other factors are also contributing to the strong year-over-year growth. At the end of 2012, small business transactions rose dramatically as owners rushed to complete the sale of their businesses before the potential Fiscal Cliff and new tax rates. BizBuySell.com data showed that over the final three weeks of December, small business sales climbed 43.4 percent over the same period in 2011. It is likely that many additional such deals carried over to the first quarter of 2013. Brokers last month echoed this sentiment as survey respondents attributed the 2013 increase to a backlog of transactions spurred by the Fiscal Cliff that didn't get done in 2012 and are closing now.

"Since the economic downturn in 2008, we've been waiting for a time when buyers and sellers finally felt ready to re-enter the business-for-sale market," Curtis Kroeker, Group General Manager of BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com, said. "The continued strengthening of business performance, the resolution of the uncertainty of both the Presidential election and (to a large degree) the Fiscal Cliff, and the strong stock market appear to be creating such an environment."

Small Business Financials Improving

As the stock market and overall economy have improved, so have the financials of small businesses across the country. According to the Insight data, the median cash flow of a small business sold in Q1 reached $100,000, a 20.45 percent increase over Q1 of 2012. Median revenue also improved, jumping from $360,000 in Q1 2012 to $401,213 in Q1 2013, an 11.45 percent increase.

2013 Q1 Key Financials for Sold Small Businesses

The improved financial health of small businesses is enabling sellers to ask for more money from buyers. The median asking price for businesses sold in the first quarter was $199,000, a 10.6 percent increase over Q1 2012. Encouragingly, the median sale price rose even more (20 percent year-over-year) in Q1 2013 to $180,000 - a level not seen since Q4 2009.

2013 Q1 Small Business Sale Price vs. Asking Price

"Small business financial indicators have been on the rise for some time now and with many of the metrics reaching levels not seen since the 2008/2009 downturn, there is little doubt the improved health is helping push the jump in small business exit transactions," Kroeker said. "Hopefully this trend continues increasing owner confidence that they can get a good sale price and buyers excitement to join an improving small business market."

Outlook for 2013

While the large jump in small business transactions is a great sign for the future, there is still some uncertainty regarding the remainder of 2013. Business brokers were cautiously optimistic in the BizBuySell.com survey last month, with 54.2 percent of brokers expecting slight to significant improvement going forward. Another 13.4 percent expected no change from the current activity level. When asked what factor is most endangering economic recovery, 31.8 percent cited the national debt and ongoing political gridlock. Small business and personal tax rates came in second, cited by 17.5 percent of respondents, while both small business health care costs and ongoing long-term unemployment received 12.3 percent of votes each.

The next few quarters of 2013 will be very telling regarding the status of the business-for-sale market. The resolution of the Presidential election and fear of the pending Fiscal Cliff appear to have accelerated business-for-sale transactions at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. If improving business fundamentals and improved access to capital also played a significant role, activity levels will likely stay high in the second quarter. Decreased activity in the second quarter would suggest that the spike in activity was temporary and largely related to the carryover transactions driven by concerns about the Fiscal Cliff at the end of 2012.

"A number of factors appeared to have fueled a spike in business sales this quarter," Kroeker said. "We expect small business health to continue to improve. However, time will tell if it will result in high transaction volumes for the rest of the year or if the market will return to the slow, but steady road to recovery we saw in 2012."

About the BizBuySell.com Insight Report

BizBuySell.com is the Internet's largest marketplace for buying or selling a small business. The company releases its BizBuySell.com Insight Report on a quarterly basis, reporting changes in closed transaction rates, valuation multiples and other economic indicators for the small business transaction market. Closed transactions are reported to BizBuySell.com on a voluntary basis by business brokers nationwide. To find a qualified business broker in your area, visit http://www.bizbuysell.com/business-brokers/.

Media Contact:

Bobby Chilver
Walker Sands Communications
office: (312) 546-4712
email: robert.chilver@walkersands.com

NOTE: For additional statistics, please see the latest BizBuySell Insights Report


About BizBuySell

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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