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WEB/DIGITAL Buying Established Websites

Luke12321

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Jul 27, 2007
663
196
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North Carolina
I am interested in the idea of acquiring established websites that are already producing income. I have seen several websites that has got my attention but never pulled the trigger. Usually after doing my due diligence I find factors that are very unfavorable but some I just did not buy because of lack of communication between myself and the seller. Here are my questions for you guys who have more experience with websites and building businesses online.

1. How do you verify traffic stats and income (payment screenshots), expenses, ect? All of the “numbersâ€, how do you verify they are really true?

2. What would be the best (most safe) payment method to complete a acquisition of this type?

3. Where is a place to find legit web companies for sale?

4. When you have decided to make the purchase, what legal paperwork would need be involved?

Thanks
 

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aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
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North Carolina
Luke,

1) I would ask to get the payment screen shots and expenses of the company. Ask to see multiple pages, very rarely they would take the time to photoshop tons of pages of payments.

2) I would only use escrow via www.escrow.com. This way both parties are protected for a pretty cheap rate.

3) I have used sitepoint.com in the past and they normally have some good stuff, I would check them out.

4) You would probably have an NDA involved, but check with your attorney. I guess it all depends on how much money is being exchanged.

Hope this helped,

Tom C.
www.aptohosting.com
 

MJ DeMarco

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I am interested in the idea of acquiring established websites that are already producing income. I have seen several websites that has got my attention but never pulled the trigger. Usually after doing my due diligence I find factors that are very unfavorable but some I just did not buy because of lack of communication between myself and the seller. Here are my questions for you guys who have more experience with websites and building businesses online.

1. How do you verify traffic stats and income (payment screenshots), expenses, ect? All of the “numbersâ€, how do you verify they are really true?

2. What would be the best (most safe) payment method to complete a acquisition of this type?

3. Where is a place to find legit web companies for sale?

4. When you have decided to make the purchase, what legal paperwork would need be involved?

Thanks
1) Step one: Review the site and public records.
2) Sign Non-Disclosure Agreement if seller requests.
3) Interview seller
4) Negotiate with seller a price.
5) Sign a Letter of Intent (LOI) which secures your EXCLUSIVE rights to perform due diligence for a period of time -- typically 90 days or so, sometimes longer/shorter depending on the size of the deal. Key: Exclusive -- the seller cannot shop the company around while you undergo this process.
6) During the LOI period, do your diligence on the company and verify seller claims:
Things to verify and research
A) Tax returns of the seller. If seller says "We cleared $1,000,000 last year!!" make sure his tax returns reflect a similar number.
B) Last "X" years of business bank statements. Again, you need to verify income claims.
C) Randomly contact and interview customers of business
D) Any internal reports (ROI, CPA, Daily Run sheets, whatever is normal to business operation
E) Vendors
F) Software/hardware review and analysis
7) If your diligence proves correct and no issues are found, you should proceed to secure an Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) which is the legal document that outlines your purchase of the business assets.

8) Deposit money in Escrow account while closing conditions are met.
9) Close

I recommend ASSET PURCHASES for internet properties, not Entity purchases. As an Asset Purchase, you buy only the assets of the company, not the entity. This helps minimize possible legal/credit claims against the purchased assets. Under an entity buy, you are buying the corporation and its assets -- hence you are subject to prior claims against the corporation, unless specifically excluded and adequate diligence is done to uncover any such issues.

An attorney should be assisting in all facets of this process -- the NDA, LOI, and APA.

EXAMPLE OF SAID PROCESS:

You want to buy AAAWebsite.com from Internet Media, LLC

Sign LOI to buy assets of Internet Media LLC which consists of:
-- Domain names
-- Software
-- Customer list
-- Operating procedures
-- Hardware/Office/Etc.

LOI gives you EXCLUSIVE time period to do Due Diligence.

Your company, MyCompany LLC purchases the aforementioned assets after successful due diligence.

AAAWebsite.com is now owned by MyCompany LLC, not Internet Media LLC.

Good luck!
 

Jonleehacker

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Oct 31, 2007
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Great post MJ.

All I can add is on this point:



1. How do you verify traffic stats and income (payment screenshots), expenses, ect? All of the “numbersâ€, how do you verify they are really true?
Get the site owner to grant you access to their Google Analytics account (which is easily done).

It's too easy to doctor screenshots and server stats traffic numbers are difficult to translate into real world visitor numbers.
 
OP
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Luke12321

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Jul 27, 2007
663
196
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North Carolina
Thanks everyone, especially MJ! Your response was somewhat over my head but in general was what I expected the process to be like if done correctly. I knew you would experience in this field as you just sold your site successfully recently. During the process of buying a web business, who usually is responsible for attorney cost? Buyer or seller?
 

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
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Jul 23, 2007
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Thanks everyone, especially MJ! Your response was somewhat over my head but in general was what I expected the process to be like if done correctly. I knew you would experience in this field as you just sold your site successfully recently. During the process of buying a web business, who usually is responsible for attorney cost? Buyer or seller?
You each share the cost for your own processes.

Since you are buying, you will be responsible for the LOI and the APA documents which should be done by an attorney that specializes in mergers and acquisitions.

The seller should provide an NDA. If the deal is small, you might be able to find boiler plated documents via the web, or legalzoom.com.
 
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Luke12321

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Jul 27, 2007
663
196
97
North Carolina
Thanks, I will have to look around as I think since the site I am considering purchasing is quite small. I will check out legalzoom and others and see what would be the best fit for the time being. Thanks again....
 

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