February 26

Maximizing Value in the Sale of a Leading Professional Service Firm


Ownership and Legacy

This Professional Service Firm, predominantly owned by its two primary practitioners, with minor stakes held by key management staff, boasted a solid history of profitability, customer satisfaction, and consistent growth. As they contemplated the sale of their business, the owners were deeply committed to ensuring the firm’s legacy, safeguarding their brand’s value, and the well-being of their management team and employees.

Strategic Sale with Confidentiality

Understanding the complexities of positioning their firm for a valuable sale within 12-18 months, the owners prioritized bottom-line growth while maintaining operational focus. Confidentiality was paramount, with a clear mandate to shield staff, industry peers, and clients from the sale process. Additionally, the future of their well-situated and professional facility, designed for expansion and market access, was under consideration—whether to retain the real estate or include it in the sale.

The Engagement: A Three-Step Approach to Value Optimization

Step 1: Preparing for Sale

The firm engaged Cadre to assess the feasibility of an exit strategy that would not only maximize the company’s value but also ensure it was primed for sale. This initial phase was critical in setting the groundwork for a strategic exit.

Step 2: Due Diligence and Value Enhancement

Cadre conducted exhaustive due diligence, viewing the firm through potential buyers’ lenses—both financial and strategic. As business advisors, they integrated with the management team, offering insights on performance, financial trends, and real estate valuation. This comprehensive review led to tailored operational and financial adjustments, enhancing the firm’s attractiveness to prospective buyers and offering flexible options concerning real estate assets.

Step 3: Sale Strategy and Execution

In collaboration with the owners, Cadre devised three sale scenarios, selecting the most advantageous path forward. A detailed plan was put in place, culminating in a targeted, confidential marketing strategy. From a pool of twelve firms, seven showed interest, with three emerging as preferred candidates. Cadre’s meticulous negotiation and coordination efforts led to a successful transaction with a private equity firm known for integrating professional service firms.

Results: A Win-Win Transaction

The sale not only met the owners’ financial expectations but also aligned with a buyer committed to the firm’s staff and legacy. The real estate was sold at a premium, reflecting its strategic value alongside the business enterprise. The transition included an 18-month involvement from the original owners under the new ownership, ensuring continuity and stability.

This case exemplifies the strategic sale of a Professional Service Firm, highlighting the importance of careful planning, confidentiality, and strategic advisement in achieving a mutually beneficial outcome for both the sellers and the buyer. The firm’s journey from valuation to sale underscores the critical role of expert guidance in navigating the complexities of selling a professional services business.


Professional Service

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