Counselor

M&A Activity Heats Up in 2014

Sales of small businesses are poised to hit record levels in 2014, a new analysis shows. BizBuySell.com, an online marketplace for buying or selling a small business, has revealed that 1,987 business sale transactions closed in the third quarter this year. That’s a nearly 18% increase from last year and the most sales recorded in a third quarter since BizBuySell started monitoring transactions in 2007.

Specifically in the ad specialty market, a Counselor analysis shows that mergers and acquisitions in the industry have increased by 14% through the first 10 months of 2014.

In the economy overall, total numbers of small-business transactions in the third quarter edged down just 2.1% from the second quarter of 2014, which remains the most active quarter for small-business sales since before the end of 2008. The third quarter performance keeps 2014 on pace to experience the highest number of small-business acquisitions since the report’s inception.

Another indication that 2014 sales could reach a new high watermark is that total listings were up 2.2% from the same time last year. There was notable growth in the number of manufacturing businesses (4.1%), service-industry businesses (3.9%) and restaurants (3.5%) on offer.

“After seeing a return to robust transaction activity during 2013, it’s good to see that we have not plateaued and both buyers and sellers are still eager to make deals happen,” says Bob House, group general manager of BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com. “There remains a strong supply of quality small businesses on the market. As the economy and financing options continue to improve, buyers remain very interested in acquiring small businesses.”

That interest is driving an apparent shift in the marketplace, with sellers now receiving higher prices for their businesses.