American SMEs should actively look for SME acquisition opportunities in Europe. They are available. The key for success is not "technical M&A" - it is your personal relationship that makes the difference!
If you are looking for good companies having sales around 15 to 50mioEuro and making profits (some of them clearly above industry average) now it is a good time to come to Europe and look for expansion opportunities.
Are the owners ready to sell? Yes, they are. Nevertheless there seems to be the on going issue with valuations and the current owner understanding that it is time to hand over the helm.
Some entrepreneurs wait until they are 75 or older and their leadership impact has disappeared long time ago. One entrepreneur, almost 70 years old, just confessed me recently; “I have a feeling that I do not own my company anymore”.
One entrepreneur did wait so long that the business lost its appeal; performance crashed!
Waiting too long is an issue when contemplating the hand over to next generation This could lead into a disaster. However, the buyer should realize this as well by actively talking with the seller about these issues and trying to avoid together the performance drop happening.
For both parties, buyer and seller, it is an advantage to be early on the market. Be there with the seller, so that he feels gradually comfortable with your take over idea. Talking only about valuation and highflying strategy is in my experience a dead end.
Europe offers for American SMEs tangible opportunities to expand through acquisition. Usually developing those good opportunities takes a lot of time. It is not unusual that a succession planning with a potential buyer takes couple of years. So start early!
Find your leads alone or with a boutique M&A consultant help and start the discussion with the target SME owner and keep it going....
Buying a company from a successful entrepreneur needs usually a lot of relationship building.
Do it early and right and you can enter the European market through a good company acquisition.