“You are to terminate all discussions with other bidders and engage exclusively with us and our funders to enable us to assess the business in more detail”.
So reads a sentence within a paragraph, within a letter of intent, all dressed up to look like an agreement of sale.
To be fair, the business owner does not sell businesses every day, and the unsolicited approach had come at a time when he had once again started to toy with the idea of a retirement away from the traffic, the staff issues, the currency volatility and the elections.
The clear requirement of the purchaser is to have the beach to himself for a while so that he can install his own fishing nets. If the fish don’t bite, he is happy to let everyone else in to cast their lines. In the meantime the biggest fish may have been driven to the adjacent beach where his cousin has sole fishing rights.
Even if your intention is to sell to this single buyer, you owe it to yourself, your spouse and your kids to be a little more circumspect in giving away sole fishing rights to people who are vague about their intentions.
Nothing keeps a business buyer more honest and focused than the possibility of some competition skipping down the sandy dunes with bait, tackle and a cooler box.
Nothing is more at risk than a basket with all your eggs.
Sometimes having too many metaphors in a single blog entry is beyond the pale.