Ready for Exit: How to Tell Your Equity Story

Industry Insights

For private equity firms the exit is the final and most crucial step in the deal lifecycle. The digital performance of the target company is now of enormous importance, because enterprise value depends heavily on it. The most burning questions in this context are: Which digital aspects need to be examined in the course of a vendor due diligence? How can enterprise value be increased on the home stretch? Are there quick wins? And how can a compelling equity story be created from mere data?

Long-Term Exit Readiness

First of all, it must be said that it is not possible to "make the bride pretty just for the wedding". In this respect, exit readiness is something that is built up over years during the deal lifecycle. The most important points in this regard:
 

  • A solid data basis: A performant ERP program and a well-maintained CRM provide the evidence for a long-term positive development.
  • Good customer relations: A high stickiness of customers points to stable future sales. This must be presented on a KPI basis, for example with the development of customer value, recurring revenue share and customer acquisition costs.
  • Continuous growth, for example in terms of products, customer segments and geography/markets.
  • Technical infrastructure: The IT setup must be scalable to enable profitable growth. Also critical are fundamental issues of data security, compliance, cloud migration, documentation, and dependency on external service providers.

Last Chapter of the Equity Story: 6-9 Months

Nevertheless, there are some points that should be focused on particularly strongly in the last six to nine months before the sale. In this phase, the entire digital and commercial readiness is examined, key value creation levers are implemented and the digital performance is improved to the maximum in order to be able to highlight the future viability of the company. This results in some quick wins before the company is sold:
 

  • Optimizing return on investment in marketing and sales: This may sound obvious. In reality, however, many companies don't know exactly what they get back from their marketing spend in terms of leads or sales, or which channels are the most profitable.
  • Visualization of KPIs: With the help of reporting software solutions, the relevant data should be presented clearly and understandably.
  • Closing gaps in IT security and compliance: While the IT infrastructure cannot be transformed in a few months to significantly improve the scalability described above, security gaps can be closed and compliance issues resolved where appropriate.
  • New monetization opportunities: Data or use cases can provide clues to new business opportunities that may offer high revenue potential for the buyer.

Digital Maturity and Growth Potential in a Consistent Equity Story

The key question for both long-term and short-term measures is how sustainable the business model is from a strategic, commercial and digital perspective. In addition to the business model of the company, its customers, and the business plan, also the market and competition are examined for this purpose, as well as macro influences such as the effects of covid, inflation, recession, or difficulties in the supply chain. The analyses are used to determine the digital maturity level and quantify the growth potential. However, apart from the hard facts and figures, a consistent equity story must also be told, because the buyer must be able to understand how the digital value drivers work. It helps enormously if the management level has internalized a digital mindset.

More about the OMMAX service Digital Exit Readiness

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