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BUYING A SMALL BUSINESS

Entrepreneurial Arbitrage

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These are tough times for most companies that sell to the Fortune 500, as they find themselvescontending with the turmoil brought on by waves of mergers and acquisitions and round after round ofreorganization. But a growing number of entrepreneurs are figuring out how to make the best of thesituation. How? By rethinking what they sell.

Instead of pitching their products or services, they find a big corporation that wants to buy theircompany. Then they just wait for the acquirer's next change in strategic direction--whereupon they buythe company back for a small fraction of the original selling price.

"I've sold my company and bought it back twice in the past three years," one CEO told me over dinnerrecently. "It's gotten to the point where I don't think of myself as an entrepreneur anymore. I'mrunning a management-buyout fund that just happens to have a portfolio of one company."

Last updated: Apr 1, 1998




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