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How does being a B Corp, with its legal change requirement, affect your ability to sell the company?

To the best of our knowledge we know of no context where  the legal change has negatively affected a company's ability to be sold or raise capital.

To the contrary, venture capital and public companies have invested over $2.5 billion in B Corps so far.  See: Who is investing in B Corps? 

And Danone raised a syndicated credit facility that encouraged the B Corp certification of its subsidiaries by linking the cost of debt to their successful certification.

The B Corp legal framework is designed to enable high impact companies to maintain their mission through changes in leadership and ownership.

Some examples of how it can affect the sale of the business include...

From the company's perspective, they can:

  • Encourage competition based on a commitment to mission in addition to the price
  • Consider other factors besides price when  making the decision of whether and to whom to sell
  • Retain or remove certification directly prior to or after the sale, depending on the current and new owners' preferences
  • Satisfy internal and external stakeholders with a voice - regardless of whether it is a voting voice - who might use that voice either to support or derail the sale
  • Look to a wider pool of capital
  • Open themselves up to additional sale options other than the traditional trade or private equity route, such as employee ownership (which is growing in popularity)
  • Ensure there is alignment between  investee and investor - and therefore an increased chance of ongoing success - given some of the acquisition price may be tied to ongoing expectations
  • Ensure alignment so the shareholders don't leave all of the employees and other stakeholders exposed to an investor who talked a good game but, once in position, had nowhere near the same sense of care and responsibility

From the investors perspective, they can:

  • Rely on a third-party review of the business that, from a due diligence perspective, supports internal documentation
  • Feel more confident that the business is de-risked in line with the regulatory trajectory regarding environmental or social issues
  • Feel more confident the business has a high-quality culture and isn't about to lose large numbers of staff. This is often very hard for investors to ascertain in advance of purchase and can represent a significant, uncertain risk
  • Satisfy their own Limited Partners (the people putting up the money they have to invest) given they are ever-increasingly having to raise capital with an ESG promise
  • Successfully pass the business through their pipeline process with its increasingly rigorous ESG framework
  • Provide excitement and enjoyment for their own employees that they are investing in businesses like a B Corp: investors want meaningful work too!
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  1. John Featherby

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