How to Discreetly Advertise a Business for Sale

Many M&A intermediaries will agree that they have one of the most difficult jobs, since they are asked to sell the company for the best price, under the best terms, as quickly as possible but without telling anyone it is for sale. Sellers that require the assistance of an M&A intermediary are typically well-known businesses with a highly established brand reputation that has the capacity to be damaged by the rumor of a sale. M&A intermediaries must constantly straddle the line between revealing enough details to entice buyers, while also withholding any information that could potentially breach confidentiality. The following list outlines only the crucial facts about the business that the M&A intermediary finds necessary to advertise in order to attract the right buyers.


Unless the business is run online, its physical location is one key factor in drawing interest from potential buyers. Most strategic buyers are not willing to relocate, so knowing the business’s whereabouts is of significant importance but is only disclosed after the execution of a non-disclosure agreement and proper prequalification of the potential buyer.

The business offering typically includes the general region in which the business is located. Sometimes the M&A intermediary will choose to reveal only the part of the world or country as most private equity buyers have preferences like “east of the Mississippi or the Southwestern US.”

Asking Price

Most buyers will want to have some knowledge of the business’s asking price range in order to see if it is within their funding abilities. It is imperative for the seller to receive a business appraisal before posting their business for sale so that they can agree on an appropriate asking price with their M&A intermediary. That being said, most larger companies are brought to market without an asking price. In discussions, the M&A advisor may suggest a range of values to a potential buyer but usually waits for the buyer to present a letter of intent. This process can also lead to an auction atmosphere which is beneficial to the client company and generally adds value to the client firm.

Contact Information

The contact information listed should give no clues as to the business in question; this includes business lines and emails connected with the company’s website URL. Instead, the M&A intermediary will offer his or her own contact information in order to protect the identity of the business. If the seller is not using an M&A advisor, then the owner should provide an email address and phone number that has no relation to the business.

Other information such as gross sales and basic business information should be left up to the discretion of the M&A intermediary. He or she has the necessary experience to list a business in a manner that entices buyers without risking the disclosure of its identity.

George & Company is well-versed in the proper avenues of bringing a business to market in this discreet manner. By placing generic offerings on over a dozen businesses for sale websites and the use of over 48 financial publications, we are able to reach the greatest number of potential acquirers. We also have over 4,000 prequalified buyers in our existing data base. Please contact us to learn more. We always work in complete confidence to protect the identities of all parties involved.

We would like to know if you ever attempted to advertise your business for sale. Many of our clients who have attempted to sell their companies themselves tell us they had it sold several times, but never saw a check! Please tell us your experiences with a comment below.