We make your business succes­si­on more successful. Guaran­teed*

KERN M&A Erfolgsgarantie

Why should you choose us for your compa­ny succes­si­on (M&A)? Becau­se of the core behind CORE.

Achie­ve the best results in compa­ny sales (M&A), compa­ny acqui­si­ti­ons and genera­ti­on changes with KERN ? your indepen­dent consul­ting group in Germa­ny, Austria, Poland and Switz­er­land. Repea­ted­ly award­ed by the renow­ned Wirtschafts­wo­che, as Top-Consul­tants and with the German-Brand-Award as well as Innova­tor 2021.

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Siegel Beste Berater für Unternehmensnachfolge
Siegel Top Unternehmensnachfolge Beratung
Beste Berater - Auszeichnung SZ Institut
German Customer-Awards 2024

Experi­ence from more than 2,000 follow-up projects

The project included the valua­ti­on of the compa­ny, finding poten­ti­al buyers, accom­pany­ing and modera­ting the negotia­ti­ons and imple­men­ting the agree­ments in a legal­ly compli­ant manner.


The entire sales process was accom­pa­nied by KERN and successful­ly completed.


The mecha­ni­cal enginee­ring compa­ny was successful­ly sold within 15 months. The project included the comple­te sales process.


Known from numerous publications

The unique M&A success guaran­tee for your compa­ny sale without risk

The sale of your business is of utmost importance to you. With which advisor are you in the best hands? With the unique KERN M&A SUCCESS GUARANTEE you get your money back if a sale is not successful.

Secure the sale of your life’s work at 100%.

We make your business succes­si­on more successful

Compa­ny sale

Learn every­thing you need to know about selling your life’s work. In the video “Selling a compa­ny in 10 steps” you will learn about the proven KERN M&A process. Also in the video, you will learn how the founders of Acoustic­pearls fulfil­led their dream by selling their company.

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Genera­ti­on change

Succes­si­on within the family needs soluti­ons that also take the emotio­nal side into account. In the video with Nils Koerber, disco­ver the holistic KERN family process for genera­tio­nal change. Get your free copy of the expert guide as a PDF download.

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Compa­ny acquisition

Buying a compa­ny is a big decis­i­on. Here you can find out why this path is easier, more lucra­ti­ve and more exciting than setting up your own business. Disco­ver how the KERN network can help you with your successful business purcha­se. Start right away by setting up your free search profile.

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Frequent­ly asked questi­ons about business succession

Defini­ti­on: What is the meaning behind the term business succession?

Compa­ny succes­si­on is an inevi­ta­ble process in the business world. By this we mean that a compa­ny is passed on to a succes­sor. This is not a case of a new start-up, but rather of the Trans­fer of an alrea­dy existing compa­ny or sole proprie­tor­ship. This process of handing over, selling, donating or buying a compa­ny can take a long time and is subject to a wide varie­ty of special features in almost every indivi­du­al case.

What forms / types of business succes­si­on are there?

There are various occasi­ons for a business succes­si­on: Mostly, this takes place when the current owner of the business wants to sell it. For whate­ver reason. The compa­ny can then be acqui­red and taken over by poten­ti­al successors/investors.

A good 40 % businesses are passed on within a family. Then a family-inter­nal business takeover takes place. However, this does not make the process any less exten­si­ve and often even more emotio­nal due to the perso­nal bond between the trans­fer­or and the transferee.

Compa­ny succes­si­on, in the context of a genera­tio­nal change, can take the form of a gift, inheri­tance or sale to the succee­ding genera­ti­on. 

What does a business succes­si­on consul­tancy do?

Taking advan­ta­ge of expert advice in the context of a business succes­si­on is not just an idea, but stron­gly recom­men­ded. Hardly any trans­fer­or has imple­men­ted such a complex process more often in his life and thus knows all the important contents. Business succes­si­on consul­tants are respon­si­ble for the planning and imple­men­ta­ti­on of this matter. This includes many diffe­rent aspects with tax, legal, econo­mic and emotio­nal backgrounds, which we present to you in more detail below.

Business valua­ti­on

The first step is often to deter­mi­ne the value of the business. A fair market Business valua­ti­on is an important step in succes­si­on planning, as it deter­mi­nes the market value of the compa­ny. This value is used to deter­mi­ne the possi­ble purcha­se price that could current­ly be reali­stic for the respec­ti­ve business model and industry.

However, the first step can also take place much earlier, namely as part of a pre-exami­na­ti­on of the put option. At KERN we call this the Fitness check for the compa­ny succes­si­on. With enough time, important decis­i­ons can be made or the possi­ble sales price can be made more attrac­ti­ve in the future with intel­li­gent value enhance­ment systems.

Infor­ma­ti­on Memoran­dum (also called Exposé)

A business succes­si­on advisor provi­des signi­fi­cant support in the prepa­ra­ti­on of a compre­hen­si­ve infor­ma­ti­on memoran­dum. This document gives poten­ti­al succes­sors an overview of the compa­ny, its finan­ces, strengths and weakne­s­ses, as well as the perspec­ti­ve after a Compa­ny sale.

Of course, a Infor­ma­ti­on Memoran­dum only issued in return for a confi­den­tia­li­ty agree­ment and each interes­ted party is checked in detail in advan­ce for sustaina­bi­li­ty as an interes­ted party in a business succession.

Finding a buyer

Grafik M&A Trichter KERN

Business succes­si­on advisors (by this we do not mean advisors who imple­ment M&A and business succes­si­on ’someti­mes’ and ‘also’, but who have a 24/7 focus on this parti­cu­lar service) can help you, find the right and best buyer and negotia­te an optimal price with resili­ent frame­work conditions.

M&A databa­ses are of great importance in this respect. KERN alone, for examp­le, as one of the largest adviso­ry groups for business succes­si­on, has more than 300,000 inves­tor and buyer profiles on an ongoing basis. We there­fo­re know exact­ly who, when, where and how they want to invest. Likewi­se, natio­nal and inter­na­tio­nal networks to banks, savings banks, lawyers and tax advisors are the decisi­ve criter­ion for an anony­mous, discreet and at the same time successful search for buyers. If several buyers can be identi­fied at the same time as interes­ted parties to take over in the business succes­si­on, this is a great advan­ta­ge for the seller of a business. And the price will also be more stable or even higher as a result.

Posting on a succes­si­on exchan­ge (compa­ny exchange)

Another way to find the suita­ble succes­sor is to post your business on a succes­si­on exchan­ge. In this way, prospec­ti­ve buyers will become aware of your business. Important! All adver­ti­se­ments must be anony­mous and we at KERN provi­de a relia­ble “securi­ty buffer” to ensure that no market parti­ci­pant or employee finds out about your project.

Negotia­ti­on with prospec­ti­ve buyers

The advisor supports you in the negotia­ti­ons with the poten­ti­al succes­sors. With the neces­sa­ry know-how, the consul­tants knowWe know what is important in this process and sound out very precis­e­ly in advan­ce which interes­ted party could really be relevant for the compa­ny succes­si­on. To be on the safe side, we always ask our clients whether this parti­cu­lar buyer would actual­ly be desired before we inspect an infor­ma­ti­on memoran­dum. Only then do we sign the confi­den­tia­li­ty agree­ment (NDA) and send it out. Or even the friend­ly refusal. Advan­ta­ge: The seller always remains secure­ly in an anony­mous positi­on with his business succes­si­on project until then.

Letter of Intent

The writing of a Letter of Intent (letter of intent prior to a compa­ny sale) is an important step in the area of compa­ny succes­si­on. In this the Inten­ti­ons of the buyer and the seller recor­ded. And it should be very detail­ed and speci­fic. A good LoI prevents misun­derstan­dings and prepa­res the subse­quent purcha­se contract well in important questi­ons. Whoever signs a compre­hen­si­ve LoI also wants to achie­ve the goal in the majori­ty of cases. This appli­es to both buyers and sellers in a business succession.

Compa­ny purcha­se agreement

Final­ly, the counsell­or will support you in Compa­ny purcha­se agree­ment for your succes­si­on. Here the rule appli­es: He who writes, stays ? This means that even the draft is of great importance for the content and strategy in the process of compa­ny succes­si­on. Whether a specia­li­sed M&A lawyer prepa­res the draft or has to check a draft is rather negli­gi­ble from the cost point of view. The transac­tion advisors make sure that the contents of a contract in business succes­si­on can do justi­ce to both sides and misun­derstan­dings can be ruled out through a mindful ?inter­pre­ter? activi­ty. Emoti­ons are often parti­cu­lar­ly tense short­ly before the goal is reached and an experi­en­ced business succes­si­on advisor contri­bu­tes to this with his experience.


Conflicts can also arise in the context of a business succes­si­on. This more often concerns the genera­ti­on change within the family. With the help of the “techni­que” of media­ti­on (modera­ted discus­sion in concre­te steps for the achie­ve­ment of goals and the resolu­ti­on of conflicts), experi­en­ced M&A advisors with media­ti­on exper­ti­se will help you to resol­ve them.

Counsel­ling is parti­cu­lar­ly relevant when the succes­si­on takes place within the family. This helps to look at things objec­tively and not let emoti­ons decide the course of events. Especi­al­ly when dispu­tes arise, a counsell­or can media­te them and objec­tively prescri­be all aspects.

The phases of a business succession

Compa­ny succes­si­on through a compa­ny sale consists of various phases. At the begin­ning, all important dates the compa­ny, deter­mi­ne its value and develop strate­gies.. As soon as the concept is ready, anony­mous contact with interes­ted parties is initia­ted. If the negotia­ti­ons with buyers are successful, the purcha­se contract is signed and the compa­ny is handed over.

Why consul­ting for business succes­si­on makes sense?

The vast majori­ty of all entre­pre­neurs only hand over their perso­nal­ly created life’s work once in the context of a compa­ny succes­si­on, whether through a sale or a genera­ti­on change within the family. The comple­xi­ty is extre­me­ly high in the context of the tax, econo­mic, legal and emotio­nal parti­cu­la­ri­ties. No two cases of business succes­si­on are the same. Experi­en­ced experts ‘earn’ more for their clients than the mista­kes, legal and tax problems or emotio­nal escala­ti­ons might cost in case of doubt. The fee, often with success compon­ents, is thus cheaper than the disas­ter of a failed business succes­si­on. In the worst case, a life’s work is damaged or even destroy­ed through ignorance.

Which succes­si­on advisor is the right one for me?

In order to select a suita­ble business succes­si­on (M&A) expert, you should be clear about the goals to be achie­ved in the business succes­si­on and the quali­ties of a compa­n­ion needed to provi­de optimal support. Once you are clear about your needs, you can start to narrow down your options.

Always ask for concre­te referen­ces and case studies. The focus on this deman­ding field of consul­tancy is crucial. Only those who have frequent­ly advised on these complex proces­ses of a compa­ny succes­si­on in depth and over many years should play a role for you in the circle of possi­ble selection.

We also convin­ce with a success guaran­tee and over 2,000 successful follow-up manda­tes. There­fo­re, we could be the right succes­si­on advisor for you.

Are there specia­li­sed manage­ment consul­tanci­es for business succession?

In fact, there are manage­ment consul­tanci­es that have specia­li­sed exclu­si­ve­ly in support­ing compa­nies in succes­si­on planning and imple­men­ta­ti­on. They have recog­nis­ed the scope and importance of this topic and have made it their goal to support entre­pre­neurs in all questions.

Are you an entrepreneur?

As an entre­pre­neur, you are faced at some point with the chall­enge of having to or wanting to pass on your life’s work. Many diffe­rent factors play a role, not least the emotio­nal circum­s­tances that can compli­ca­te this process. With the help of specia­li­sed succes­si­on advice, it may be easier.

KERN offers a special one-day seminar (digital or analo­gue) for the start-up phase, to help you find your own clari­ty as a future transferor.

Planning compa­ny succession

The process of business succes­si­on requi­res thorough planning. Without prepa­ra­ti­on, mista­kes and losses are inevi­ta­ble. A business succes­si­on cannot simply take place from one day to the next, but consists of diffe­rent phases of business succes­si­on and requi­res exten­si­ve preparations.

Find compa­ny successors

If the succes­si­on is not to take place within the family, it is important to find a poten­ti­al succes­sor. A suita­ble option for this is, among other things, a compa­ny exchan­ge. On such a portal you can anony­mously offer your life’s work and thus attract poten­ti­al buyers. Please note that you should choose an exchan­ge very careful­ly, becau­se there are only very few relevant portals for business succession.

Check­list for business succession

Are you a founder or a compa­ny buyer?

The concept of business succes­si­on also plays a role for someone who would like to buy a compa­ny. If you don’t neces­s­a­ri­ly want to start up, but still want to run a business, you can look for a suita­ble compa­ny on succes­si­on exchan­ges, for examp­le. Buying within the frame­work of a compa­ny succes­si­on has clear advantages.

What are the advantages?

There are many diffe­rent advan­ta­ges to buying a compa­ny. You don’t have to start an elabo­ra­te proce­du­re of a founda­ti­on, but take over an alrea­dy existing compa­ny. One of the advan­ta­ges is that you usual­ly start with experi­en­ced employees, which are incor­po­ra­ted and are famili­ar with the acqui­red business model.

A successful­ly running business opera­ti­on, regard­less of the indus­try, provi­des income and an estab­lished founda­ti­on of securi­ty from day one. Now it is time to align the compa­ny for the future and to combi­ne its own vision with the estab­lished business model.

Oppor­tu­ni­ties and risks

One of the oppor­tu­ni­ties in taking over a compa­ny is to have a alrea­dy successful compa­ny to be able to expand and scale even further.

And at the same time, even an estab­lished compa­ny has to face challenges every day. Compared to a start-up, a compa­ny succes­si­on is of course not without risk, but in terms of time it is proba­b­ly always more successful than a classic start-up. After all, a good 80 % of all comple­te­ly new start-ups fail.


Finan­cing a business succes­si­on is one of the biggest hurdles to a successful takeover. Can a buyer afford the possi­ble volume of a purcha­se price? Where can I find the right finan­cing partners? Which subsi­dies and public guaran­tees help to make the project a reality.

Questi­ons and challenges, often up to the business plan, should also be prepared and imple­men­ted with experts.

Check­list for business buyers

  • Set goals & expectations
  • Find a suita­ble company
  • Hold negotia­ti­ons
  • Purcha­se contract & takeover

What should be conside­red when choosing a succes­si­on consultancy?

When it is time to plan succes­si­on for your business, it is important to choose a manage­ment consul­tancy that suits you and your business. If the chemis­try between you and the advisors is right and the profes­sio­nal know-how has been testednothing stands in the way of a successful compa­ny sale. An indis­pensable prere­qui­si­te for exter­nal advisors is a high level of compe­tence in assis­ting with compa­ny successions.

Succes­sor wanted: Find compa­nies and purcha­se requests

The KERN Compa­ny Exchan­ge is the meeting place for entre­pre­neurs, inves­tors and those who would like to become one. It offers buyers the oppor­tu­ni­ty to get an overview of the compa­nies for sale. For this purpo­se, we offer the free oppor­tu­ni­ty to enter your own search profi­le and create it accor­ding to indus­try, geogra­phy, size, capital, etc.

Sellers, as our clients, can also find a poten­ti­al succes­sor this way. Always protec­ted by the anony­mous presen­ta­ti­on and securi­ty buffer of our KERN processes.

The DIHK Nachfol­ge­re­port 2020 has shown that business succes­si­ons have been sever­ely slowed down, especi­al­ly by the pande­mic. But this no longer has to be the case. Our stock exchan­ge and our advisors actively support you.

What costs are incur­red within the scope of a business succes­si­on consultation?

When conside­ring succes­si­on advice as an entre­pre­neur, the questi­on arises as to how much it will cost. The answer cannot be genera­li­sed, as it depends on the size and comple­xi­ty of the business, the type of succes­si­on planning and the parti­cu­lar circum­s­tances of the owner and the business. At KERN, we work stron­gly success-orien­ted and even guaran­tee the sale of a business under certain circum­s­tances. Without any risk for the seller: https://www.kern-unternehmensnachfolge.com/erfolgsgarantie/

Business succes­si­on advice

Succes­si­on planning is crucial for the long-term success of compa­nies. Everyo­ne who runs a compa­ny will face this chall­enge sooner or later. In order not to have to go through this process alone and run the high risk of making mista­kes, the use of a M&A consul­ting meaningful.

Advice on business succes­si­on is about planning the future of your life’s work. This includes topics such as the creati­on of a succes­si­on plan, the selec­tion of a succes­sor and the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the handover.

If you are also facing a business succes­si­on, we will be happy to assist you. During a free initi­al consul­ta­ti­on, we can discuss together how your goals can be achie­ved concre­te­ly and safely.

We advise clients who wish to sell their business as well as entre­pre­neurs who are looking to buy or make an intra-family trans­fer within the family business.