Some Day You May Sell. Start Preparing NOW!

Some day, whether in two months or five years from now, you might think about selling your niche media company. Or selling at least some of the properties within it. Where should you start? What has real value? Are “earn outs” a good idea? How can you best prepare now in order to maximize profit?

So we asked our M&A experts, (who between them have done hundreds of mergers and acquisitions), to share their insights with our niche publishers. Read on to learn more.

What can a publisher do who wants to sell right now?

Dan Oswald, CEO of  Simplify Compliance: “Two steps every niche publisher who is thinking about selling must take right now to prepare for the best possible outcome are:

1)    Keep growing your business.  Don’t get distracted by the prospects of selling or fail to continue to invest in growth.  Operate your business as if you’re going to continue to own it because you just might.  Plus any attempts to cut spending or investment will be seen by a buyer and raise concerns.  A healthy, growing business will get you the best price.

2)    Get your financials in order.  Make sure you have at least 3 years of clean financials prepared by a CPA. GAAP financials would be ideal, but clean cash-based numbers are acceptable. If there are owner-related expenses that would not be incurred by the buyer, clearly identify them to arrive at an adjusted EBITDA or net income.”

How does a publisher best demonstrate that they’ve done a good job of integrating their media?

Don Pazour, CEO, Access Intelligence:  “In addition to the overall financial presentation, show which revenue streams are demonstrating particularly compelling growth with good prospects for the future. Contribution margins for an integrated portfolio should be between 20 and 30 percent–contribution meaning before overheads and excess owner compensation.If possible show the revenue mix over time showing that within your market you are pivoting the business toward new, higher growth business models.”

Why should publishers consider earn outs as an option?

Don Pazour:  “If you are on a growth path, you can take money off the table and get some help from the acquiring company in right sizing service and overhead supports while you can focus on driving the core revenue side of the business. The acquirer could have systems, databases, vendor contracts, etc. that allow for faster growth and other value creating steps that build the business faster than you could alone.

And you can also have more of an influence on the future of some of the key employees that have helped you create value, because you will have some say negotiated into the earn out agreement.”

What are some of the mistakes you’ve seen when a media business is presenting their audience data? 

Phil Binkow, CEO of Financial Operations Networks: “Lack of preparation and failure to understand the interests of the suitor.  Prepare with advice from experienced buyers and sellers. Buyers will continue to become more sophisticated and the abilities to separate the irrelevant from the meaningful will increase in importance to both parties.”

Considering selling (or buying)? The M&A Summit is a must attend! Held January 17, 2018 as part of the annual Niche CEO Summit, the M&A Summit is a one-day intensive with practical guidance on how to approach the process, industry trends, valuation, and real-life M&A case studies. Limited to 20 buyers & sellers, registration is now open!


About this blogger: Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Niche Media. A former sales director and corporate marketing hack, she has now found nirvana in writing and wrangling quality content. Diana is a food, wine, art and SF Giants enthusiast…who sometimes gets carried away.


Niche Media has the best events, education, and training in media! Our super niched-out events & content give target-audience publishers in the B2C, hobbyist, B2B, city & regional, and association markets the tools they need to build revenue, audience, and more.