If your company or your clients’ companies have formula pricing for their buy-sell agreements, the likelihood of future problems is high. It is just not possible to foresee all possible future circumstances when setting a formula today. The solution to these problems lies in a Single Appraiser, Select Now and Value Now valuation process.
Fixed price buy-sell agreement pricing mechanisms are not good and seldom work. The problems with these agreements can be “fixed” if the parties focus on the future and take steps today to solve future problems before they occur. In this post, I discuss two single appraiser processes to help solve these problems.
The idea for naming the appraiser at the time a buy-sell agreement is signed was not original to me. I first heard of the idea in the late 1980s when I learned that I had been named as the appraiser in a buy-sell agreement that had been signed a few years before. However, since learning of the idea, I’ve adopted it and promoted it widely in my books and articles on buy-sell agreements.
Today I discuss another buy-sell agreement story where shareholders bet on the company’s value upon a trigger event. This story’s protagonist “wins;” unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the other shareholders. While the price was updated annually, incongruent contexts led to a dichotomy in the price of what should have been paid and what was actually paid per the agreement.
More than a decade ago, I was writing my first book on buy-sell agreements. While I was working on it, a long-time friend, let’s call him William, who had significant knowledge about the value of businesses, called me to relay a true story about how one buy-sell agreement ended very badly for his family.
Since the idea of a fixed price buy-sell agreement is appealing and conceptually simple, many companies employ it. The problem is that the parties seldom reset the prices in their fixed price agreements — a major problem in the current environment considering the value of many businesses changed under the new tax law. In this post, we consider the impact of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act on fixed price buy-sell agreements.