Mike Rosendahl

E: mrosendahl@pcecompanies.com

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Selling your business is no walk in the park. Navigating the complexities involved requires careful planning and strategic thinking—including consideration of which individuals you should be working with. This blog sheds light on the key players you’ll encounter on this journey. We’ll explore who should be involved in the process, along with the benefits and drawbacks of their participation. By understanding the unique strengths and challenges each stakeholder brings to the table, you can make informed decisions to ensure a smoother, more successful sale.

1. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

When to get them involved: From the beginning. 

Why involve them: The CFO offers critical financial oversight as well as a comprehensive understanding of the company’s financial health, so they can provide you with insights essential for accurate valuation. Their role in ensuring you have up-to-date and accurate financial reporting will also be crucial during the due diligence process.



Accuracy: The CFO’s involvement ensures that the financial information you present to potential buyers is accurate, which can help attract serious buyers who are a good fit and expedite the sale process.

Confidentiality: The CFO will have access to sensitive information about the sale, so their awareness of the sale adds to the risk that information could be leaked.

Valuation: The CFO can play a crucial role in business valuation, helping you understand what your business is worth and why.

Conflict of Interest: The CFO may have personal or professional reasons for opposing the sale, which could complicate the process.


2. Chief Legal Officer (CLO)/General Counsel

When to get them involved: From the beginning. 

Why involve them: The CLO will be a crucial partner as you navigate the intricacies of this complex transaction. During contract negotiations, their expert legal advice will help you ensure compliance with regulatory constraints and minimize legal risk. And you can rely on their meticulous preparation and management of legal documents, including contracts, licenses, and intellectual property rights, to streamline the due diligence process, thereby safeguarding your business’s interests.



Protection of Interests: Their involvement will help safeguard your company’s legal rights and minimize legal vulnerabilities.

Resource Allocation: The CLO’s involvement could divert their attention from your company’s regular legal responsibilities.

Risk Mitigation: As a legal expert, the CLO can identify potential due diligence pitfalls and help you avoid costly mistakes.

Overcautiousness: Your CLO’s focus on minimizing legal risk might prompt them to give you overly cautious advice, potentially slowing down negotiations or hindering an unconventional deal structure even if it is advantageous to you.


3. Board of Directors

When to get them involved: From the beginning. 

Why involve them: The board’s strategic guidance can align the sale to your company’s long-term vision, which might involve shaping your sale strategy and influencing negotiations, while their representation of shareholder interests will ensure you obtain approvals and provide transparency as required, thereby minimizing conflicts.



Expertise: Directors bring diverse expertise, including industry knowledge and market insights, which can benefit you as you seek the best buyer and the most advantageous terms.

Decision Delays: Board decisions can take time, so the board’s involvement could slow down the sale timeline, but you need to include them.

Stakeholder Confidence: The board’s endorsement will lend credibility to the sale process.

Conflicting Agendas: Balancing shareholder interests might be challenging.


4. Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

When to get them involved: Early in the process. 

Why involve them: The CMO can play a crucial role in positioning your business for sale. They’ll leverage their deep understanding of the market and customer base to identify your company’s strengths and create compelling marketing materials that highlight those strengths. They also possess insights into customer dynamics that will enable you to provide specific prospective purchasers with the information that will be most attractive to them.



Attractiveness: The CMO can help make your company more attractive to potential buyers by highlighting your market position and customer base.

Confidentiality: Like the CFO, the CMO will have access to sensitive information about the sale, so their involvement adds to the risk that this information could be leaked.

Communication: The CMO can help communicate the sale to your customers and the public in a way that helps you maintain customer relationships during the transition.

Conflict of Interest: Like the CFO, the CMO may have personal or professional reasons for opposing the sale, which could complicate the process.


5. Chief People Officer (CPO)/Human Resources Director

When to get them involved: Once you have decided to sell. 

Why involve them: The CPO will be instrumental in managing your employees’ reactions to the sale and facilitating a smooth transition by addressing concerns about changes to benefits or job roles. Additionally, they will be vital in ensuring that all employee records are current and meticulously prepared for due diligence.



Smooth Transition: The HR Director’s involvement can help ensure a smooth transition for employees, thereby preventing any loss of productivity during the sale process.

Confidentiality: The HR Director will have access to sensitive information about the sale, so their involvement adds to the risk that the information could be leaked.

Employee Retention: By addressing employee concerns and questions, the HR Director can help you retain key employees during the transition.

Employee Morale: The HR Director’s involvement makes it more likely that employees will learn about the sale before it’s officially announced, and that could negatively impact morale and productivity.


6. Stakeholders (Investors, Shareholders)

When to get them involved: From the beginning. 

Why involve them: Investors and shareholders have a vested interest in the success of your business. Their approval may be necessary for the sale to proceed.



Support and Credibility: The backing of stakeholders can lend significant credibility to the sale, showcasing their confidence in your decision and the future of your business.

Potential for Conflict: You might find yourself struggling to reconcile differing opinions among stakeholders about the sale’s desirability or terms; such conflicts can slow down the decision-making process.

Strategic Decision-Making: Their involvement ensures that strategic decisions, including valuation and terms of sale, align with your business’s long-term interests.

Confidentiality: Involving a broader group increases the risk that sensitive information about the sale could become public prematurely.


7. General Workforce

When to get them involved: You should carefully time the moment when you involve your general workforce in the sale process. Typically, it’s prudent to involve them once the sale is closed (or at least certain to close) and the major terms are agreed upon but before the deal is publicly announced. You will probably reach this stage once the due diligence is substantially complete and there is a strong likelihood that the sale will proceed.

Why involve them: Involving the general workforce will help you manage expectations and reduce uncertainty. It’s important to communicate clearly about how the sale might impact your employees’ roles, their day-to-day operations, and the company’s culture. Doing so can help you maintain morale, trust, and productivity during the transition period.



Enhanced Transparency and Trust: Open communication with employees will help you foster a culture of trust, as you’ll make them feel valued and respected during this period of change.

Spread of Misinformation: If you don’t effectively manage the way the information is communicated, involving the workforce could lead to rumors and misinformation, which might disrupt the workplace and even affect the sale process.

Employee Retention: Keeping your employees informed will increase the likelihood that they’ll stay committed to the company, reducing turnover during a potentially turbulent period.

Resistance to Change: Sale announcements are sometimes met with resistance from employees who fear change. If your employees react that way, the company culture and work environment could be negatively affected.

Valuable Feedback: Your employees may have insights into the business that prove valuable during the sale; for example, they might identify potential operational issues or opportunities.

Confidentiality: Sharing news of the sale with greater numbers of people will increase the risk that sensitive details might be leaked outside the company, potentially affecting negotiations or your company’s competitive position.


Determining who to involve in your business’s sale process and when to involve them is complicated, and the right decisions depend on your company’s unique circumstances and the transaction details. Investment bankers can be invaluable guides in this intricate decision-making process. They can help you strategically plan the right time and manner in which to involve key personnel. Maintaining clear communication is essential to ensure a smooth path to a successful sale, and that means you must first know what to communicate and with whom. Contact us if you would like to discuss your business.

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Mackenzie Moran


Mackenzie Moran

Investment Banking

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