It took two trips to market to sell Discern Health, says the company’s Managing Partner Guy Dandrea.
“The first round, we really weren't prepared,” Dandrea says. “We were neophytes. We had never been through the process. And so we really began that process without a clear understanding of what it would entail, what it would take in terms of our attention, the management perspective, and what the end points would be, and what some of the possibilities were.”
After the first process concluded unsuccessfully — the company received a few offers but nothing that they really liked — Dandrea says what his team realized it should have done is build a relationship with advisers in advance of a process, and far enough in advance of a process to be able to go into it with their eyes wide open, knowing what to expect. They also recognized the need to make investments in accounting systems and find other ways to demonstrate their our performance so that the company could quickly move towards a sale when the right opportunity came along.
“My first and probably most important advice I'd give to anybody is to find an adviser in whom you trust who has been through that process before,” he says. “Because for you as a business owner, certainly was true for me, it's the first time that I was trying to sell a business and perhaps the last. So, having a partner who has been through that process before, who knows how it works, who knows how to send the right signals to the buyers and help you as a seller prepare for that entire process, is really critically important.”
After attempting a sale process and not receiving an offer they thought was appealing, the team at Discern Health took two years to get ready to try to attempt another sale.
“We knew we had to make some internal changes,” Dandrea says. “We made some investments in HR, in accounting, in building some of the administrative structure.”
The company also started working with business consultants who reviewed and evaluated the company’s financials so they could offer advice on some of the updates the company had to make, the way the business was structured, etc.
“And really that prepared us then for success,” he says. “We started talking with an individual firm that was private equity backed and after several months of going around and waiting for that process to get going, it started to happen very quickly.”
From that point to the point of the sale was about two and a half months.
“So, when it happened, it happened very quickly,” he says. “And so it was really important for us to have everything ready to go so that we could move quickly when the time did come.”
Dandrea spoke at the recent Baltimore Smart Business Dealmakers Conference, along with Nelson Mullins Office Managing Partner Tim Hodge, Chesapeake Corp. Advisors CEO Charles Maskell, and Exeter Street Capital Partners Managing Director Franklin Staley, about the importance of pre-diligence work. Hit play on the video above to catch the full panel discussion.