Merging a veterinary practice can be a great exit strategy even if you are unable to sell or unwilling to liquidate your practice after so many years in business. A merger provides many of the same benefits as a sale but has some unique traits.
What is a Merger?
A merger is the combining of two companies into a larger entity as opposed to selling the company to an individual veterinarian. While this is very common among major corporations, it is also becoming a common practice for veterinary providers as well because of the flexibility that it offers.
How is a Merger Done?
Similar to the sale of any business, when you are looking to merge you first prepare your practice to be taken over. Then you put together a marketing strategy that will make your business appealing to other existing veterinary practice owners. Usually the strategy for merging is less intensive than it is for an outright sale. This is because you assume that the company that you merge with already has existing infrastructure, equipment, and staff. They are looking to merge with you so that they can pick up pieces that they may have been missing from their practice. For instance, they may take advantage of some advanced equipment that you have, or a particular team of specialists that you have on staff.
Once you've found a company to merge with, both companies are given a due diligence period to determine whether or not the merger will benefit both parties. You need to be sure you are merging with someone who will keep the business alive and growing. Merging your practice with another practice is a common tactic if your business is not in great shape or you haven't had time to properly prep the business for sale. In this case, merging a veterinary practice is possible without a huge cash outlay up front.
Once both parties have come to an agreement about the merger, a strategy is put into place regarding existing staff members and a new branding strategy is often undertaken. Most mergers combine the names of the two practices into one, but some companies choose to simply take on the new name altogether and get new marketing materials altogether.
There are many reasons that a merger may be a better solution than a sale. Merging a veterinary practice can be a simpler way to let your practice live on under the guardianship of a larger entity that will continue to build on what you've already accomplished.