Business acquisitions are constantly making news.  Corporations and businesses, big and small, buy competing and non-competing businesses for a variety of reasons.  Maybe a business is looking to expand their market share in their industry or maybe they are looking to diversify their product offerings to satisfy investors or bring long-term stability to the organization.  Whatever the reason, business acquisitions are an important consideration for any business owner.

Microsoft has become one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world due in large part to their aggressive acquisition policy.  Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft acquired its first company in 1987.  Today, Microsoft has acquired an astounding 146 companies.  Skype, Hotmail, and Bungie (the maker of the video game Halo) are all Microsoft brands due to acquisitions.  Disney is another company that has also become aggressive in acquiring new companies in order to rebrand its image and expand its product line.  Many of the new companies they have acquired have helped Disney strip away its persona as the peddler of all things Mickey and Minnie.  In 2012, Disney acquired Lucasfilm from George Lucas for an estimated $4.05 billion.  With the acquisition, Disney became the proud owner of the Star Wars franchise, Indiana Jones franchise, and Lucas’s companies Industrial Light and Magic, LucasArts, and Skywalker Sound.  Disney has also acquired such media giants as Marvel, ABC, ESPN, and Pixar.

If you are a business owner, a smart and properly-timed acquisition can help your business expand and grow.  It is important to keep in mind that business acquisitions can be full of perils: from valuations, to taxes and liabilities, it is important to have good counsel representing you along the way.  An experienced business attorney can work to coordinate the transfer of the business from buyer to seller or seller to buyer in a way that minimizes tax exposure and liabilities in relation to the business. In a family business acquisition, it is all the more important to ensure that good family relationships continue by putting into place planning that allows the family to securely pass the business down to the next generation.

For addtional reading:

Business Insider Article

Variety Article

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship

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