by Matt Thomas
A few weeks ago I met with a man who had recently wrapped up a surprisingly fruitful exit from the business he founded, owned, and operated for 20+ years. He was liquid and eager to deploy capital but before we dove into his opportunities for investment I asked him cautiously, “What kind of multiple did you get?” He looked both ways before leaning over the table and whispering enthusiastically, “22x!” I nearly spit my coffee out all over the table. 22x? Most business owners looking to exit can expect 2-3x, maybe 4-5 if they have carved out a niche with tremendous upside in their space, but 22x is unreal.
I peppered him with questions, wanting to know how this company in a saturated vertical was able to get acquired with that kind of multiple. Finally, I asked him what he believed was the primary contributor to his successful exit.