INCREASED global activity in the technology mergers and acquisition (M&A) market offers opportunities for Irish firms, a conference has heard.
Technology entrepreneur Ray Nolan, Storyful's Mark Little and Havok's David Coghlan gave their insights into selling a tech business.
Speaking at the “Selling your tech company: insights, earnouts and outcomes”conference, Martin Kelleher, partner at law firm, Mason Hayes & Curran, also highlighted some of the opportunities.
Kelleher has advised on some of the country's most successful technology deals including the recent sales of Storyful to News Corporation and AMT-Sybex to Capita.
He said tech giants are currently in acquisition mode, offering founders the prospect of growing their companies further through a strategic sale.
Attendees heard a number of tips, including:
1. Being exit ready from day one: Even before forming the company, know how you want to leave;
2. Beware of legal time bombs: think of best and worst case situations early on in sale process;
3. An exit is not always the end: it can be the entrance to new opportunities;
Most firms are bought, not sold as the purchaser normally comes knocking;
4. Consider your universe of purchasers and seek to build business relationships as they can be route to exit;
5. Due diligence for funding is minor compared to purchase, so be deal ready from day one;
6. Create distance with the acquiring company and avoid emotional involvement.
The Irish tech sector generates €72bn in export revenue and employs over 100,000. Of that figure, €1.8bn is produced by over 700 indigenous companies, employing 10,000 people, the conference heard.