Published July 08, 2011

Baby Boomers and Small Business M&A

By Clay Brock

About 79 million Americans make up the Baby Boom generation.  This generation has presided over a period of tremendous economic growth, so perhaps its no surprise that they also own tens of thousands of smaller companies.

As Baby Boomers enter retirement age, we agree with the many experts who expect a proverbial title wave of companies coming to market.  According to a Cornell University research study, over $10 trillion in assets will change hands due to this generational trend.  Other experts talk in terms of 7-9 million such businesses coming up for sale in the next 10-12 years.

It is hard to know what impact this will have on the small business M&A marketplace, but it might mean that, due to the sheer volume of companies for sale, purchase prices will decline.  If so, Baby Boomers who are otherwise already motivated to sell or otherwise transition their businesses should probably consider acting sooner rather than later, particularly with tax rates near historically low levels. Alan Brind, a business broker, wrote a good blog on this topic and provides recommendations on how to start building an exit plan.