Mergers & Acquisitions Advisory

A Neumann & Associates, LLC

February 9, 2023

Confidentiality is Vitally Important When Selling a Business

By Michael McEntee

During a successful business transfer, confidentiality must be of paramount importance to the seller. All of the processes, recipes, formulas, contacts, and other sensitive information (the very foundation of a company’s achievements and profitability) will, at some point, need to be disclosed. This can also include knowledge that an aggressive competitor has been trying to obtain for as long as a business has been in existence. Keeping it out of predatory competitors’ hands and still getting key information in front of the greatest number of qualified potential buyers becomes the challenge. Sellers must also avoid concerns developing that ownership will not be there in the future to personally service and support the product, potentially affecting current business activity. Nothing positive occurs when loyal customers, long term suppliers, or covetous competitors even suspect that a business is for sale. Every M&A firm will claim that it will protect a company’s identity and confidential information. However, in our experience, we have found that our competitors’ efforts do not approach the rigorous confidentiality standards that we believe are necessary and have set for ourselves and our clients.

For most owners, selling their business happens only once in a lifetime. The entire process generally takes between eight and twelve months from initiation to settlement. During this time, the business will still be operating as usual. The owner needs to have complete focus on running the business without the distraction of finding and negotiating with potential buyers. When the business owner ultimately determines that a sale is warranted, deciding which mergers and acquisitions firm is best positioned to advise and successfully manage their transaction, is critical. Confidentiality needs to be a major consideration when making that decision.

“Our first objective at our firm is to establish the fair market value of a business by engaging the services of a certified, independent third-party valuation company”, states Achim Neumann, President, A Neumann & Associates, LLC, a leading Mergers & Acquisitions firm and Business Brokerage, headquartered in New Jersey. He continues, “Using that fair market valuation as the foundation, we begin the marketing process by creating a Blind Profile”. This document is a summary of a company’s activity, which includes a very general description of its industry and geographic location, (example: located in the Northeast), as well as very detailed information about the company’s revenues, profitability and expected future performance.

Our dedicated buy side team circulates this document to a wide range of potential investors using our extensive data base of over 850,000 client contacts, built over the past twenty years. In addition, targeted phone calls and direct US mail notifications are sent to clients known to have interest in specific businesses so that we get maximum buyer exposure for every company that we represent, however, always in a confidential manner.

In order for any potential investor to receive additional information about a company beyond the blind profile, the investor must first go through our very specific four-step buyer prequalification process. We require interested investors to exhibit prior management experience that qualifies them as genuine candidates capable of taking over and successfully running the business being offered. We require each to submit a financial statement showing that sufficient assets are available to qualify said investor for the SBA loan or other financing required to complete the transaction if a purchase at fair market value is arranged.  We further require each interested investor to submit a bank statement showing that sufficient funds are available for the down payment necessary to complete a purchase of the business at the established fair market value. Finally, each interested investor must sign our very strict three-page non-disclosure agreement detailing the potential consequences of releasing any non-public information about our client.

All four of these things must happen before any interested investor can receive the Confidential Memorandum. This document is approximately thirty pages in length and contains all of the information that any investor will need should he or she decide to engage in negotiations towards the purchase of the business. By this time, our buy side team will have had numerous conversations with every contender for that business, further screening each, and narrowing the field of acceptable candidates. We will relay all of this information to the seller so that together we can decide which of those candidates should ultimately be introduced to the seller and seriously considered as a potential buyer for the business.

All of our documents are signed with a wet signature. They are not simply released with the on-line click of a mouse and without proof of sufficient funds, as we have seen is the case with some of our competitors. That method of faux confidentiality frequently breaches the barrier that we feel is necessary to protect a seller’s most sensitive information. Rather, it has the effect of unnecessarily exposing that information in the marketplace and potentially lowering the ultimate selling price of the business.

The sale of a business is a serious undertaking. From conception to ultimate sale, an owner must constantly strive to improve his or her product or process, in essence, trying to make the current version obsolete. Continually creating a better product or a better process strengthens an owner’s chances of maximizing the value of the company by demonstrating superior long-term performance. At no point in the life of the company can a lack of confidentiality be allowed to jeopardize this performance, and at no time is that a more important consideration than when the company is in the process of being sold.

Confidentiality is extremely important and is a major priority at A. Neumann & Associates. It is always top of mind in our dealings with sellers, buyers, and with those clients who engage us to assist them in determining the value of their businesses for planning purposes. In our opinion, you can never be too careful and that is why our standards are so high.

About A Neumann & Associates, LLC

A Neumann & Associates, LLC is a professional mergers & acquisitions and business brokerage firm having assisted business owners and buyers in the business valuation and business transfer process through its affiliations for the past 30 years. With an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, the company has senior trusted professionals with a deep knowledge based in multiple field offices along the East Coast and has performed hundreds of business valuations in its history. The firm’s competitive transaction fees are based on successfully completing transactions. For more information, please contact A Neumann & Associates at 732-872-6777 or

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Client Testimonials

“Your vetting is simply outstanding, among the best I've seen from a broker.”

Eric H., Investor

“I recently contacted A. Neumann and Associates about getting a valuation of my business done. I spoke with Marc, who explained the process in detail. After meeting with Marc in order to get a clear understanding of my business, and what I was hoping to accomplish. His patience in answering all my questions and his knowledge of the proper way to market my business gave me great confidence that this is the firm I will be using to sell my business for max value. Working with Marc at A Neumann & Associates was very easy and professional. I did not know all that was going to be involved in selling my business but they helped me through the process. What I thought was going to be a just another one of those pushy sales companies was just the opposite. Polite, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to talk to and deal with. I highly recommend this firm to anybody who wants to sell now or down the road. Marc not only knows his stuff, but actually is a real nice guy.”

Double Diamond

“Used A Neumann & Associates to sale my business. could not imagine having done it with out the patience and experience Gary provided. Thanks Gary,”

Dennis Frazier

“Working with Marc and his company was a pleasure. What I thought was going to be a just another one of those pushy sales companies was just the opposite. Polite, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to talk to and deal with. Marc handled most of the interaction and he has one of the greatest demeanors. Again, it was a pleasure working with him and his firm.”

Douglas DiCeglio

“I recently completed an acquisition using A Neumann & Associates. Tony Valentino was very helpful and accessible during the entire process. They do a thorough job vetting both parties and got us to the finish line.”

Srini Mudambi

“Claus out of Florida helped us with the sale of our business. We had never done anything like this and him and his team walked us through the process from start to finish. We had some challenges through the process and Claus continued to show up even in the difficult conversations.”

Colby Harris, Co-Owner, Del Mar Designs

“Claus Madsen thoroughly helped us with selling our company. From the 1st introductory meeting explaining to us what was possible, to providing us with resources to assist with the sale. Claus was invaluable throughout the whole sales process. Claus was with us every step of the journey and always made himself available for any questions or issues that came up along the way. If you are interested in selling your business, I encourage you to reach out to Claus and the ANA team so that they can let you know what’s achievable. These guys will make it happen!”

Ron Harris, Co-Owner and Vice President, Del Mar Designs

“A Neumann & Associates is the only business broker I would use or consult with. They have assisted with 3 business sales over the past 15 years with me. They are honest and sincere and have always performed better than my expectations. They are the only one i would use for the sales of my businesses.”

James Belanger, Business Owner

“I wanted to take a second to commend the exemplary customer service from both you [Karin Neumann] and Mr. Valentino. It’s both a rarity in the industry, and very much appreciated.”

Andrew G., Investor

“We worked with Neumann & Associates to investigate the purchase of a research company in 2010 and found Achim to be capable, forthright and realistic. His depth of experience enabled us to fully understand our options, offering creative options that might enable the acquisition. While we didn’t acquire that particular company at that time, we know exactly who to call whenever we’re looking to buy or sell a business.”

Daniel Coates, Buyer
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Contact A Neumann & Associates, LLC

If you are considering selling your business, please contact us to learn more about our comprehensive service spectrum. Our experienced professionals will answer all your questions about selling a privately held business in complete confidentiality. Please fill out our contact form, or call us at 732-872-6777. We will contact you directly and will never identify ourselves to your employees.

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