Valuing and Selling Your Firm

Blair and David discuss why, when, and how principals sell their firms, and Blair reveals he is skeptical about selling his own firm.



BLAIR ENNS: David, the organizations that hire you and I to speak at their conferences etcetera, you know the people I'm talking about.

DAVID C. BAKER: The really smart ones.

BLAIR: The really smart ones who pay us a lot of money to come in and talk about whatever it is that we talk about. I remember one of those people whom you know well and I know well as well and he said to me when we were talking about a theme for a conference or what I was going to speak on, he said, "Man, there's two recurring themes that everybody wants to talk about. One is, how do I build this business?" That's kind of my domain, business development. And the other is how do I sell this business? And that's at least one domain of yours.

So, I think today we're gonna talk about why, when and how principals sell their firms. Now, what qualifies you to be our resident expert on this topic?

DAVID: That sounds like a really loaded question. Because all I could think about. I'll answer the question, but, all I could think about was aren't you the guy who says I'm never gonna leave my firm? Here I have somebody who's very skeptical about ever selling your firm interviewing me. I should have picked a more-

BLAIR: I was gonna drop that bomb at the end. Oh, this is stupid you should never sell.

DAVID: You're just gonna lead me along for half an hour and then, okay. Back to your question. I've done about six, seven hundred valuations of firms and then I have lead 140 or so transactions of different types, which might mean the merger of a firm or selling to a holding company or buying another firm.

I represent both the buy and the sell side. I didn't actually used to do that work in the beginning. I didn't know anything about it. It was the main reason I didn't do any of it, but, I found that my clients who trusted me because of our work together kept asking me for help in that regard and so I had to really learn it.

That was about, I don't know, 18, 19 years ago and since then been doing a lot more of that. It's pretty much under the radar. Every once in a while you hear of a deal that I did, but, mostly it's pretty confidential, so, I don't say too much about it normally. It's fun to talk about this so more.

BLAIR: Yeah, I remember many times being in conversations with you and it was almost like covert stuff that you were working on. Something would come out, You'd be searching for maybe a buyer or we were talking about a shared client and you would share something that had just happened that I had no idea you were working on.

Over the years I've had inquiries on this too. When I was a new business development consultant people would ask, do you do mergers and acquisitions work and I always thought it was the oddest question. I think there's nothing about business development other than there's money involved. 

DAVID: Which perked your ears up a little bit right? I guess I do, yeah.

BLAIR: Yeah, of course and I thought, whoa, yeah. Yeah, I can make a lot of money in this. Tell me more about this. 

DAVID: Tell me more about your interest.

BLAIR: No I never took the bait though. Okay, let's talk about why principals sell. It might sound like a silly question, but, are there certain triggers that make owners of creative firms decide, okay, this is it. I'm done. Time to start looking for a buyer.

DAVID: Right other than just a bad Monday after a great weekend or something. 

BLAIR: Three bad days. 

DAVID: It's really interesting because one of the first instances of pattern recognition, which you and I have talked a lot about came to me related to this. It's so odd. It's such a coincidence really.

I just notice that principals were introspective more introspective than normal during certain phone calls, and I had no idea why. It took me a long time to figure it out and finally it hit me that principals were most introspective about nine to ten months before a lease boundaries. In other words they were getting ready to have to make a decision about what they were going to do, about where their agency was housed. They were gonna either renew the lease or buy a building or whatever it was.

What was striking about that after I thought about it some more is that, that was the only time principals ever made a long term commitment to their business. Every other decision they made hiring somebody, buying a piece of equipment, changing a positioning could either be reversed or just stopped, but, especially if they were signing a personal guarantee for a space.

In some parts of the country like New York for instance, you're signing a ten year lease. Most leases are more around the five year, but, that just set off this chain of events in their minds and they were thinking, do I wanna do this for another five years?

There were certain triggers that made them think a little bit differently about the business. They didn't necessarily wanna get out of business at that point, but, they just stopped and said, "Okay, how's this going? Do I wanna do this for another five years?"

BLAIR: Makes me wonder as you say that. How many of those principals of creative firms who sign up for our Win Without Pitching training program. I wonder how many of them have just committed to a lease. They've just made this long term commitment so they think, well, I guess I better fix that new business problem.

DAVID: Well, they obviously wanna stay in business and thrive for multiple years because the commitment they're making through that training program is half a year, a year, two years, three years, depending on how that unfolds.

BLAIR: Infinity.

DAVID: Yeah, infinity, right. 

BLAIR: That's the Hotel California, you can check out but you can never leave.

DAVID: Yeah.

BLAIR: That's the signing a lease is what you might call the hard trigger. Are there softer triggers that get people thinking about selling their business?

DAVID: I'd be interested to compare notes with you on this, but, I find that there's always this earn-out period, except in very few cases, so they have to work for the firm that's acquiring them for a period of time. That's the earn-out period. You have to anticipate when you're gonna be done. You can't just wake up and say, okay, I'm done and then sell your firm because you can't just walk away right after the sale transaction.

When they're anticipating when they're gonna be done, usually there are two factors there. One is, when do they start to get tired of clients. That usually happens first. Then they get tired of employees. I've often joked that if I could write a book without giving anybody any sense of what's inside it, I'd just trick them into buying it at first and basically the promise was you can run a very successfully agency without clients or employees. I bet I could sell a lot of copies of that because it's usually in that order.

Have you seen that by the way? I've never really talked to you about that. Getting tired of clients and that sort of triggers something for them?

BLAIR: Oh yeah. I think I own the domain consulting without

DAVID: Oh, really?

BLAIR: I remember. Yeah, I think so. Well you've experienced this, I'm sure, as a consultant you go into a business and the owner of the business says, well, I really envy you, you're a consultant. You've got this free life. You've got nobody you're responsible for. You just flit in, make a bunch of money and flit out.

They see consulting as kind of a higher ideal, more idealistic version of what they're doing because there are no employees and then I joke, yeah, then you get to the consultant level and what you really fantasize about is consulting without clients and that's called speaking and writing.

DAVID: That explains why I'm drawn to that, yeah. But these principals, especially if they aren't positioned really well, I think there's a connection there because they have to go through this learning process with every new client that's part of it.

Also, the expectations that the client has of them, but, if they aren't positioned well are so out of the park sometimes. They're not really sure what they're doing with each new engagement.

It's worse for firms that aren't well positioned, but, there is something about that. Get tired of clients first and then you get tired of employees and then the next step is basically, I'm done, right? You have to anticipate that. Those are some of the softer triggers.

BLAIR: Is there an upward trend in the number of principals? Are you doing more valuation work?

DAVID: I am. A lot more valuation and a lot more merger acquisition work. There's more happening and it's not just my practice. There are five or six of us that do really good work and really solid work. Good people doing it.

For all of our practices in this M and A field it's up for all of us. I think there could be a few things happening. One is that there's less expectation that you're going to pick a career and that it's a lifetime choice. People do feel like they can pretty much start over in their 40's or 50's maybe even in their late 30's. That's part of it, I think.

There's also less stigma about exiting. I used to talk with so many clients who really should have shut down their firm or should have sold it because of many different reasons and they just were so terrified of the stigma in their community.

For one thing, there's not as much tied to your local community so that's not as big an issue. And business, it's generally good. This is more speaking to it from the buyer's side. Business is good, their businesses are growing, but, they want to achieve something on a much larger scale and they're not seeing that they can reach those goals organically, and so that's what prompts them to reach out to a firm and consider buying it.

Those are some of the things that seem to be influencing the market right now. I mean, all that could change if there's some huge political disaster or geopolitical war or an economic downturn across the world. That could change it, but, at the moment and for the last three or so years, things have been really good. Very active.

BLAIR: I think I've seen that trend as well, but, there's also different types of acquisitions going on, right? There are things kind of happening now that haven't really happened a lot before.

DAVID: Yeah, for sure. There's some fake purchases that are much smaller. At the very highest levels, there are some large firms that are entering this space, so as marketing moves more and more towards digital, and you and I have threatened it, we really need to talk more about this at some point. That all marketing is really digital, so why are we talking about digital. The movement towards digital is really sparking the interest of players outside this field to get in like IBM and some of the large accounting firms. Some of the big management consulting firms.

They are really interested in buying some of the smaller firms to have access to their client base, to have access to their IP. They don't really intend to build on those firms that they're buying. They just want to sort of have a leg up and jump and get a head start on the marketplace, but, I think that the marketing field that you and I serve is going to look drastically different over the next few years. More different over a shorter period of time than it ever has.

A lot of that is driven by outsiders that is, non-agencies that are buying up agencies for lots of different reasons. Even the client side people are buying agencies. In other words, you have a big client and usually it's a client concentration issue. A client that's big on your roster, and they just say, hey, why don't we just buy you. That's happening more and more. Some really famous ones too, like, Capital One buying Adaptive Path and there's about 50 of those examples that have really rocked the industry. Made it pretty interesting to talk about.

BLAIR: Yeah. There seem to be a flurry of those types of deals over about a two year period and then it seems to have quieted down a little. It has, yeah. You're seeing some trends in acquisitions are you? Beyond the odd ones we've just talked about?

DAVID: Yeah, right. If we take those outliers out of the picture there are some trends and almost everyone of them is good, honestly. Good for the seller, the selling firm and since I work for smaller private independent firms I'm usually representing the seller's side although I'll dip in and help the buying side sometimes. Some of those trends would be shorter earn-outs, so, in the past it's really odd, the deals all looked exactly the same and they almost look like they came from the same word template.

They were always the same mix of cash at closing and a note paid over time and then an earn-out. And the earn-out was always five years. In other words, you didn't get all of the money until you'd been there five years and only if you hit certain performance targets.

Those earn-outs are shorter, they're usually three years now. Sometimes shorter. I've negotiated a few that are one and two years. A couple that are all cash at closing. They don't have to be the same for every principal as well, so, if you have a firm that's run by two principals, one of them might be wanting to leave, one might want to stay. We can tailor that to them. That's one trend that's pretty unique.

The other is that there are much fairer non-competes and that mirrors the fact that firms are not run by principals who see this as a sort of a career for life and so, they are free to do other things. Even a few of the things during the earn-out, but, a lot of things after the earn-out. Usually there's this buffer every year or two where they can't do anything that would hurt the acquisitions value, but, after that they could do what they want.

There are more reasonable performance targets. You don't have to have a spreadsheet to calculate them anymore. It's usually one or two things that are reasonably achievable and both parties agree on them and feel good about them.

There's more cash at closing so when you think about the total purchase value, purchase price more of that a larger percentage is in cash at closing. Every deal varies significantly and then there are as I mentioned, there's lots of non-traditional buyers and something we've already talked about.

All of those trends are really good for the seller and since I'm usually representing that side I think that's a good thing.

BLAIR: That's seems to imply that the reason why firms are being bought is different or they're being looked at differently by the acquirer, so, if we take that kind of that short term, well, I assume it's a short term blip, but, if we take that blip of clients and management consulting firms etc. buying agencies we put that aside. Are the acquirers looking at these acquisitions differently now?

DAVID: They are. In the past it was a way to achieve greater growth back in the early 2000, 2001, 2002 time period. After that, it was driven a lot by P.R. firms that were trying to buy a presence in a major market that they didn't already have a representation in.

Nowadays, in some cases they're trying to buy capacity, so, the firm that they're purchasing already complements their positioning. That's a little bit rare. More, nowadays, we would call the purchases strategic purchases, which, simply means that they're not buying capacity. They're not buying a chunk of revenue that they can add to their income statements.

It's something else. Its bigger. It's also a handy way to say the financial performance of this firm you're buying isn't fantastic, so, let's make sure there's another reason you're buying it because if we just evaluate the deal based on the financial performance, we're not gonna get enough money in the sale. We call those more strategic purchases and yes, those are being driven all up and down from small to big firms. They're looking for, let's say we want somebody who really understands, say a DUX for instance, or maybe the best app dev firm around or maybe it's around conversions or affiliate marketing or something like that.

There's very, very specific reason and of course, probably what you're thinking already is, like, ah, another reason to be a well positioned firm because that definitely drives. That is the primary driver for selling your firm for a good chunk of change is that positioning that you have.

BLAIR: Well, when I look at these trends, shorter earn-outs, fair or non-competes more reasonable performance targets, more cash at closing it seems to me that the reverse of all of those things were in long earn-outs, less fair non-competes, they were all about tying the principal to the firm after the firm was bought as a means of kind of mitigating the risk or lowering the uncertainty of whether or not that revenue's gonna stick around.

Now, there's either more certainty that that revenue is not tied to the relationships that the principal has or it's something else. 

DAVID: Yeah. I think it is a little bit more mature perspective of about how the tied they are to the revenue, but, it's also that principals are so much more aware of what it takes to run a smart business nowadays, so, they've often arrange their business so that they are not as central. It's a really good thing and it's showing up in how well these transactions are valued, essentially.

That is true. If these big firms are not buying the smaller independent firms for the money and it's more of a strategic purchase then what is it they're really getting? They often want something different in their leadership team. They might want some younger folks or a more diverse set of folks on the leadership team. That's part of it.

One of the largest is that they want access to your client base. They want to be able to sell what they are already doing at the mothership into the relationships that you already have. Your existing relationships, so that's part of it as well.

BLAIR: The service of the firm being acquired is complementary to the service that I'm currently offering.

DAVID: Right, but, I've got relationships with 20 Fortune 1000 clients and three-fourths of those are not already on the roster of the mothership, so, this is going to allow me to do it and then conversely, if the principal is wanting to sell there may be nothing wrong with the smaller firm. They might just want to play on a larger stage and that's frequently the case. They wanna play on a larger stage.

They want new business to be a little bit easier for them. They don't have any problem closing the sale. They don't have enough opportunities to close it. That's how they think, whether it's true or not. That's how they think and so, they wanna play on a bigger stage. And employees of course, are open to that as well.

BLAIR: You've listed some positive new trends that are kind of favorable to the seller and there some more new trends. Before I forget I wanted to ask you about roll-ups. Roll-ups are kind of like, peaks and valleys where the pendulum swings both ways. They seem to be a bunch of them on at one time and then they just all stop.

DAVID: Right. People come to their senses and they stop.

BLAIR: Where are we in the roll-up cycle?

DAVID: There are a few silly roll-ups happening and I guess I've been pretty obvious here about how I feel about them. I'm not a fan of roll-ups. A roll-up is simply buying lots of firms or putting lots of firms together like a big clump of spiders and then trying to sell the clump of spiders to somebody else. There are so many reasons why they're not a good idea and they do pop up from time to time, but, as soon as it's obvious that somebody is being approached by somebody who's trying to manage a roll-up then I usually discourage them from looking at it.

For one, you just don't have much control over what other firms are going to add. The other is that they're growing so quickly that they're usually some pretty severe cultural issues and usually you're paid in not so much cash, but, 'cause there is no money in this firm yet you're paid in stock from the mothership. The firm that's acquiring you. There's just so many things out of your control.

Some of my clients still do it and I still manage those deals for them, but, usually it's because something's not going all that well at the firm and they don't have many other options.

BLAIR: Have you every brokered any deals of independent firms selling to a network agency or holding company?

DAVID: Yes, for sure. Yeah. 

BLAIR: Okay, my question I wanna ask you is, have any of those selling principals ever looked back on the transaction afterwards and thought, well, that was a good thing?

DAVID: Maybe of the 140 or so transactions all those haven't been to major holding companies, but, I would say maybe two of them have looked back and said that was a great thing to do. Most of the time it's not really good for them.

They get lost. If you just take Omnicom for instance, they've got 240 agencies under their umbrella so you're immediately faced with, okay, are we selling to an Omnicom agency? If that's the case then it's gonna be a very small deal with not much money changing hands because they don't have the authority to spend above a certain amount, typically.

If not, if it's a bigger deal than that, then we're dealing with the huge Omnicom and those deals are going to look so traditional that it's not going to be difficult to find a better opportunity for them purchase by either non-traditional firm or a large independent firm. I do less and less of those deals with the holding companies.

BLAIR: Okay. Worst new trends that you're seeing in acquisitions.

DAVID: Well, one of them is this acquihire which it's not like closing your firm and going to work for somebody else and it's not like selling your firm for a lot of money. It's somewhere in the middle where you're tired of doing this on your own and you wanna plan a bigger stage, but, your revenue doesn't justify some big purchase price. You do in essence, close your firm, but, it doesn't look that way to the public. You are paid as a principal. You're paid as a higher level executive and you get some sort of a signing bonus and that's how you monetize the firm, but, it's not a traditional sale at all and I've managed quite a few of those.

They can be a really good option. Usually they're only done if the firm is usually smaller so it doesn't justify a traditional purchase structure.

That's one I listed as kind of a difficult transition or a example of something that's difficult because there isn't as much money, traditionally.

Another one is just that there's still some silly things happening here. Here I am a principal of a firm and somebody makes me an offer and I'm talking with an advisor, whoever that is and it looks like I'm gonna get a little bit of money at closing, but, the terms of the earn-out are such that I'm still going to retain a whole bunch of entrepreneurial risk after the transaction.

In other words, I'm still going to have to maintain a certain sales level of my clients or I'm gonna have to maintain a certain net profit level or whatever that is or I'll have to keep a client that represents a client concentration problem.

If I'm going to retain all that entrepreneurial risk, why don't I just keep the firm myself? Why would I sell it to somebody else and have a boss in the transaction. Those are the two. If you think of a teeter totter on the far end the left is, okay, how much entrepreneur risk am I offloading and then that's the good part. The bad part is how much of a boss do I still have?

There are still many transactions where the person selling the firm usually the person I'm working for really wants to do this, but, then when you start to do some sort of a crossover analysis for them and figure out what's the return look like if they sell. What's the return look like if they just keep the firm, rather than selling it doesn't make a lot of sense. That's still something we haven't quite gotten over.

About six or seven years ago, I did a study of how many firms actually sell and it was one fourth of one percent. That's one of out every 400 firms. Now, we can increase our odds significantly by just lopping off the outliers. The firms that don't run their businesses like a business, right? Or the ones that are just sort of playing between other jobs or the firms that never grow.

If you're a serious firm and you know what you're doing your odds are astronomically higher than that. Maybe they're one in ten or one in six or something like that, but, its still pretty unlikely so, yeah, it's pretty sobering number.

BLAIR: It seems to me that you talk about this spectrum of entrepreneur risk on one end and having a boss in the other end and just thinking again about the earn-out period. I've often thought of the earn-out period as a sort of purgatory where you see these principals that are trapped in between. They sell and they think they're free, but, they're not free and they're locked down for a while. It's probably the same thing in this idea, okay, I've sold on paper, but, I'm still taking risk and in the earn-out period, you're still taking risk, right?

DAVID: Yeah, absolutely because if you don't meet those performance targets that both buyer and seller agree to before the transaction was consummated then yeah, you're not gonna get a bunch of your money. How much of your money you don't get depends on the terms, but, it could be anywhere from 60% of the total transaction value to maybe 20%, but, that could have a huge, huge impact on what happens and even if you intended to get all that money by staying around and really performing well, something might change.

You might not like the culture. You might walk away and of course, you have the option to do that in our modern world. Nobody could keep you, can make you stay there, but, you're gonna leave all that money on the table and you're still gonna be tied up in a non-compete. That's why it's so important to get purchased by the right firm if you are going to pursue this.

BLAIR: All right. Well, let's think of the children in all of this who are the employees. When I try this on and maybe we'll talk about this some other time, but, you know my exit strategy is death. My plan is to never sell and never retire, but-

DAVID: And your employees might help you with that too. I could see that happening.

BLAIR: And every once in a while I try on, well, okay what If there's a health issue and we had to sell and they sell and they say to the employees, hooray, we sold the business. What would their reaction be? I had to think about the spectrum of reactions, but, it's a real thing that you would have to consider if you're a human being. How do employees tend to react?

DAVID: Principals are terrified of this and illogically so. For one thing, if you have a good culture then once the employees do find out and that's always tricky. When do you tell them because you don't want them to find out from somebody else, but, you also don't want to distract them. But once they find out, if you have a good culture the first thing that comes to mind for them is that they trust you. They're not going to believe that you would follow this transaction that isn't good for you. They know that there are certain things that are important to you and the culture so you're gonna look for those same things in the acquiring firm. To some degree, they do trust you.

Once they learn more about it they're usually excited or they just give it time and usually they give it six to nine months. What excites them in particular the most exciting thing to them is that wow, especially the ambitious employees, wow, now we have a ladder with more career rungs on it, so, there's more opportunity for me. Now it's a 20 person firm now. It's gonna be a 200 person firm. That give me room to grow and move up. That's the most exciting thing to them.

The other is that usually the benefits package is better that the acquiring firm than the acquired firm and that helps them. That isn't always true, but-

BLAIR: Makes sense though.

DAVID: Yeah. Yeah. So those are the two. They almost always give it those six to nine months and then some of them might leave, but, it's surprisingly not all that disruptive for them.

BLAIR: Let's kind of put a bow around this a little bit. Let's say I own an independent creative firm. I call you and I say for whatever reason maybe it's the hard trigger of looking at my lease, maybe my clients are driving me crazy and I say, David, it's all up in the air. I wanna do a valuation. You run a valuation and then it's, okay, help me decide what to do. Is there kind of standard best practices?

I know there's not a right thing to do for everybody in the same situation, but, if you had to just take a guess based on your previous experience and say, well, I think the smartest thing to do is usually, X, sell, keep renting it, whatever the other options are. Do you have a thought on that?

DAVID: From a money standpoint a valuation isn't that expensive, so, it's pretty easy to do that and there are lots of reasons to do it even if you aren't thinking of selling. It might give you a sense of how a buyer might look at your firm then you know what to work on over the next five or ten years

That's a pretty low risk option, but, regardless of that because most people aren't gonna do that. They're just thinking about it, sort of like you phrased the question. I urge them to run their firm as if they're gonna sell it, but, don't necessarily aim towards selling it.

It's one of those rare times when they can make their cake and eat it too or buy their cake and eat it too or however that things goes because running it as if they're going to sell it means they're going to be well positioned 'cause that's the most important thing in a sale. It also means that their role is going to be structured in a way that it lends itself to a transaction, which is also really good for them. It makes it easier for them to get away on vacation or to take a sabbatical or whatever that is.

Aiming for the right financial performance that's gonna help them now whether they sell or not. It's on of those cases where it really makes sense to run the firm as if you're gonna sell it and then enjoy life even if you don't. Because the odds are you aren't going to sell it, but, the odds are really good that if you run it as if you're going to sell it you're going to love your firm. Maybe even love it so much that you never have to sell it.

One thing I wish that principals would do is I wish they would consider the fact that maybe they just need to fix it. Maybe they don't need to sell it at all. Maybe the things that are driving them batty about this firm are fixable and then they don't feel the pressure to sell it. 'Cause I do think who starts a firm with the idea of selling it? The odds are against it, right? There's so many other reasons. How many people are buying these kinds of firms anyway in this scope of things? That's what I would say to them.

BLAIR: I think that's great advice. It really jives with my own beliefs on we kind of joked about this and I've talked about my exit plan being death because I've seen principals that get to a certain age and they start to have one eye on the exit. They start thinking about selling or maybe they've got a built in buyer and a family member they're handing the firm off to or a key employee.

Whether there's a significant amount of money changing hands or not they still think about transitioning out of the business. There's not a lot that's sadder to watch than a business where the principal has quit taking risks and he or she is just kind of winding down and the business is just becoming less and less relevant.

I say no exit, never sell. I recognize a lot of times are going to have to exit or sell or even just retire and we're not all going to retire with our boots on. The point I try to make when I talk about that is that just don't always have one eye on the exit. Conversely, as you point out I think if you run it and ill confess, I emailed you the other day, hey, what's my business worth? You didn't charge me $5000 and you gave me a really good level-

DAVID: I charged you twenty bucks, but, I wouldn't pay twenty bucks.

BLAIR: It's between this and that and I thought, okay that's about what I thought. I think about that. I think about the value of the business although I've committed to never selling and I think there's a duality there that's probably makes sense. What ends up happening down the road is whatever's gonna happen is what's gonna happen.

I think that's smart advice. Run it like if you have to sell it, it's in good shape to sell, but, don't have one eye on the exit all the time where you quit taking risk.

DAVID: Right, exactly.

BLAIR: Good way to wrap it up. This has been really great. I'm not sure if I'm closer to or further from selling my own business. I suspect you'll get some inquiries about the valuation. I know we need to end this, but, there are different ways to value a creative firm. Do you wanna talk at all about how you do yours or is that part of your secret formula?

DAVID: Well, the traditional way is to apply some multiple against a highly adjusted net and so, you have the phrase ebitda which stands for earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization. I throw a lot of other things in there so I use a particularly unique waiting system.

I also normalize principal comp and then I throw an entirely different method. I call it the inverse multiple method that's a checksum on that and then of course what multiple we choose changes quite a bit and unlike in the past there were always four or five. Nowadays they range from two and a half to thirteen and a half and so choosing the right multiple for you the way a buyer's gonna see it is probably the most scientific part of it.

BLAIR: You just picked a number out of the air for me though when I texted you.

DAVID: I think I said, like, a half or something.

BLAIR: All right. Let's end here. This has been great, thank you, David.

DAVID: Thank you, Blair.

David Baker