Investment value

Apr 22, 2019

Is your firm an investment value candidate? If you’re looking to sell, this is the level of value at which you have the most opportunity to maximize your exit.

In the world of business valuation, we throw around a lot of terminology relating to value indications. You are probably most familiar with fair market value, but I would like to discuss a different value level today. The International Glossary of Business Valuation Terms defines investment value as the value to a particular investor based on individual investment requirements and expectations. As a shareholder, this is the level of value at which you have the most opportunity to maximize your business investment.

Investment value involves synergies between firms and the additional value over and above fair market value. Synergies come in various forms including the ability to increase the revenues of the target firm, the reduction of risk when combined with an acquirer, savings through the elimination of duplicated efforts, and other qualitative factors including an increase in depth of management, enhanced financial performance, and diversification. Firm size will also likely drive investment value. Supply and demand can lead to additional price premiums when the number of buyers exceeds the number of good firms for sale.

As a seller, investment value is certainly an appealing option to exit a firm. However, not every firm is a candidate. Investment value candidates will likely have a mix of the following characteristics:

  • The firm operates in an attractive target market
  • The talent of the people on staff must be attractive to a buyer
  • Specialties and niche markets are generally sought after by investment buyers
  • Financial and organizational performance should be strong
  • Good financial and operational data must be available
  • Shareholders must be open-minded to the selling process
  • Sellers should have reasonable price expectations

Should you decide that an investment buyer is a viable exit option some preparatory work is necessary to effect a positive transaction experience. This entails assessing the value of your firm and ensuring that all shareholders are on the same page if governance documents require a vote for transaction approval. Thereafter, it is critical to understand that this process is time-consuming and will require focus. Good staff to carry on with daily business details is a must. You should also ensure that the cultural fit feels right, as it is a major key to assuring that your firm will continue to thrive after a deal is consummated. Lastly, be bold in getting to know the interested buyers by asking a lot of well crafted questions that will provide you with insight into their company. You can be assured that a buyer is going to know a great deal about you!

Tracey Eaves, MBA, CBA, CVA, BCA, CMEA is a member of the Valuation Consulting team at Zweig Group. She has been valuing privately held company interests for more than 18 years. Contact Tracey at or directly at 505.258.8821.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.