Why should I use an advisor such as FE International?
Working with an advisor (sometimes referred to as a broker) will help you to find a high quality website for sale that meets your acquisition criteria. Every website that FE International lists has been pre-vetted extensively by our in-house due diligence experts. We value our hard-earned reputation for excellence and as a result only list the highest quality internet businesses for sale.
In addition to listing excellence, advisors house a wealth of experience and expertise which will ensure that your buying goals are met. A reputable website M&A advisor will:
- Help find the right acquisition for you.
- Offer invaluable advice before, during and after the sale process.
- Support and guide you through the sale process and any post-sale obligations.
- Save you time, effort and money by assisting in contract drafting.
- Adhere to industry standards/services (IBBA, NACVA, Escrow).
Be on hand to provide an answer wherever you have a question.
Why is FE International better than other advisors?
FE International has been specializing in the sale of internet businesses since 2010. There are a wealth of reasons why we are the best option for buying and selling websites:
- We have the largest full-time team in the industry of selling websites and internet businesses. All of our team are formally educated and have years of combined experience in both running and selling internet businesses.
- We complete the sale of more 5 and 6 figure businesses than any other online business broker in the industry.
- We work as a team. Most brokerages allocate one broker to a listing and they are solely responsible for the deal. At FE International, we work as a team so clients benefit from our combined knowledge and experience.
- We are business owners ourselves. We run a number of websites which helps us give clients advice based on real experience rather than theory or second hand knowledge.
What type of internet businesses do FE International sell?
FE International specializes in business sales in the mid-five to mid-seven figure range. We have a large and experienced team focusing on specific value ranges and business types, so we will be able to assist you no matter how specialised your own business acquisition criteria is.
Having completed over 750 acquisitions, FE International has a wealth of experience and will be able to assist you in reaching your goals. You can read more about the different types of internet businesses we sell here: 7 Business Models to Invest Your Money Online.
I am a first time buyer, do you have any useful resources on buying and selling websites to get me started?
Yes, we have plenty of resources and are adding to them all of the time. To keep up to date with our listings and blog posts, sign up to our buyer network anywhere on the site.
To begin with, it is important to understand the market as well as the different types of business model and niches that exist. We have written a free 83-page Guide to Buying an Internet Business which is essential reading for those that want to learn more. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch directly or comment on the post.
Do I have to sign a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA) for each internet business that I am interested in?
No, our NDA covers a period of two years and applies to all business listings. However, we ask buyers to sign one annually, so if it expires and the buyer is not willing to re-sign, per the terms of the agreement, he/she would be prohibited from publicly disseminating the information for another year. This protective measure is one of the reasons business owners choose to list with us, and how we are able to bring these opportunities in front of you.
We require a signed NDA to ensure that proprietary information relating to the business in question remains confidential. It is a fundamental and mandatory part of our buying process and exists to protect the seller.
Once you have signed an NDA, the broker will provide you with further information on the business(es) in the form of a prospectus. The prospectus contains detailed information about the business, from financials through to traffic, operations and a seller questionnaire. All NDAs are distributed for electronic signature.
Are there any fees for buyers when working with FE?
Buyers do not incur any charges for requesting information on listings or speaking with brokers.
On completion of a deal, FEI charges a Buyer Transaction Fee of 2.5% (based on the final sale price of the business) up to a maximum of $1,000. The fee covers the administrative costs associated with facilitating the sale, specifically:
- Drafting of the letter of intent (LOI);
- Facilitation of due diligence through our secure deal room;
- Drafting of the asset purchase agreement (APA); and
- Escrow setup and transfer facilitation.
This fee is payable upon on completion only.
There is also an additional fee for using the services of Escrow.com. This fee is approximately 1% of the transaction size and is typically split equally between buyer and seller. Third party legal counsel is at the buyer’s own cost and is recommended for larger website acquisitions.
What happens once I have made an offer?
Having made the decision to offer on one of our business listings, you will generally follow the process outlined below. Your broker will always keep you informed of any immediate next steps and key dates across the duration of the sale process.
- Communicate offer verbally or in writing to the broker responsible for the specific business listing.
- Broker will submit a formal Letter of Intent (LOI) detailing the specifics of the proposed offer.
- Once the LOI is signed by both parties, the deal progresses to due diligence. This is the period in which the buyer is given time to scrutinise the operations and financials of the business in more detail. The aim of due diligence is to ensure that no material misrepresentation(s) have been made during the course of the sale and marketing process. Your dedicated broker will be on hand to facilitate this process, publishing all due diligence documents to our secure deal room and pointing you in the right direction throughout.
- During the due diligence period, your broker will start drafting the Asset Purchase Agreement (APA), which is legally binding, before submitting it to both parties for review.
- Once agreed by both parties, the APA will be sent to the buyer and seller for signature after which the buyer will be invited to deposit funds (initial consideration) using an Escrow Service.
- This is then followed by asset transfer and an inspection period. During this period, buyers check the assets to ensure that everything has been transferred, ahead of the release of funds to the seller.
For more information on the process outlined above, please refer to the following: Buying an Online Business.
Can I get Google Analytics (GA) access when reviewing a site?
For privacy purposes we typically do not provide access to Google Analytics for buyers during the assessment (pre-offer) stage. We are however very happy to provide reports from the GA dashboard for whatever traffic information you would like to see.
Once an LOI has been agreed and signed between buyer and seller, we will grant the buyer access to GA for the duration of the due diligence period. It is also important to note that every FE International prospectus contains detailed traffic information and commentary from the seller from the outset.
Does FE International carry out due diligence for me if I were to buy a website?
Due diligence is a task that should be conducted by the buyer independently. While we can point you to specific areas of interest, we cannot complete due diligence for you. Your broker will be on hand to gather all of the required documentation from the seller and will allow you the time to analyse this information before prompting sign-off.
If you are new to buying websites and internet businesses or don’t feel comfortable conducting due diligence yourself, there are reputable due diligence experts in the market that focus on online acquisitions. Just let us know and we can put you in touch.
Do sellers offer financing to help buyers with the acquisition?
It depends. There are a number of factors that will determine whether or not a seller is able or willing to offer seller financing.
Generally, at the smaller end of the market (<$100K) seller financing is not often an option that is open to buyers. Sellers are mostly looking for all cash offers and the market is quite competitive at this level with a high number of cash-ready buyers. Therefore, it is unusual to see seller financing being offered on <$100K transactions.
As deals move towards the $150K level and upwards there is increased scope for seller financing. The extent of financing will depend on the seller’s preferences, the specific business as well as the legal and commercial terms agreed to.
Naturally, cash is the preferred funding source for most sellers and so oftentimes a buyer submitting an offer with financing should expect to pay a premium to a straight cash offer.
For more information on funding options, please refer to the following: Funding Options for Buying an Online Business.
Does FE International offer financing?
No, we do not. If you require financing, we have a useful resource on funding options that should answer some of your questions: Funding Options for Buying an Online Business as well as How to Buy a Website with Finance.
Does FE International provide legal assistance in support of acquisitions?
We do not provide legal assistance. We are able to provide comprehensive advice around deal structuring and will draft all legal documents and contracts. However, if you require legal advice, we recommend that you speak to your independent legal counsel.
Do I get an opportunity to speak to the seller during the acquisition process?
Yes, absolutely. We actively facilitate buyer and seller interaction pre-offer, it is important for a buyer to understand more about the business and the seller is the best resource of information. Further, a conversation between seller and buyer will often help the seller understand the buyer’s background and whether or not they are well-positioned to take the business forward.
If your broker is confident with you as a buyer, they will look to organise a Q&A session with the seller. Also, during due diligence it is often easier, quicker and more effective to setup a conference / screen share to run through the key items. Again, this is another opportunity to talk at length with the seller.
How can I differentiate myself from other buyers in the internet business market?
There are numerous ways to differentiate yourself from other buyers looking to buy a website or internet business.
Firstly, communication is key. Share your preferences (business model, niche, budget etc.) with your broker to help them learn about the type of business listings that you are interested in. It will also help to build credibility, ensuring that your broker knows that you are serious.
Secondly, being thorough and diligent throughout the process is important. For example, developing a list of specific questions for the seller before you offer is a good way to help you decide whether an investment is sound. It will also send positive signalling to the seller, indicating that you are credible, knowledgeable and prepared to move forward.
Lastly, be prepared to make some allowances. This is key in any commercial negotiation. Being too stern on non-material points will frustrate the process and the seller, if you are seeking a win-win acquisition you are more likely to have success this way.
If you’re looking for further guidance, there is some great advice in the following blog posts – Unwritten Rules of Buying an Internet Business as well as 5 Questions to Ask a Buyer Before Making an Offer.
I have seen an internet business that I want to buy elsewhere, does FE International offer buy-side brokerage services?
We are a sell-side business brokerage and thus are predominantly focused on providing sell-side services on behalf of our clients. We do, however, selectively provide buy side consulting services for buyers who would like representation. Get in contact with the team through our contact form and one of our brokerage team will be in touch to discuss.
Do I receive any training post-acquisition?
Yes, absolutely. The typical training period is 20 hours over a period of 30 days post-sale. This training will cover everything needed to learn how the business operates and how to run it successfully going forward.
It is important to note that training agreements are bespoke to every deal. For larger or more complex businesses or simply where the buyer wants more training, extended training agreements can be agreed to.
Generally speaking, buyers are very well supported post-sale and we always ensure sufficient training is provided.
I would like to talk to somebody about coming a qualified buyer, how should I go about this?
We have a strict criteria for becoming a qualified buyer – signing a NDA is not the end of the process.
The best way to inquire is by contacting the Brokerage Team is by email – brokerage [at] feinternational.com. We will get back to you within 12 hours, usually faster. If you would like to schedule a call, send a request with preferred times and we will be happy to schedule one right away.
Alternatively, join our mailing list or request information on a listing and we will be in touch to start the qualification process.