Twenty years ago, this company's founder, who managed a band that did society events, found himself continually renting his equipment to other musicians. Thus, a business was born. Today, the company produces corporate and religious events and concerts for audiences of all sizes, in venues from the great outdoors to the Grand Ole Opry. Dolly Parton, Celine Dion, Busta Rhymes, and George H.W. Bush have all stepped up to the company's mikes.

Corporate and charitable events, many of which include live concerts, generate 45 percent of revenue. Gospel shows and Christian conventions are less frequent, but the owner relishes them, because they command a markup of up to 200 percent.

Unlike competitors, which tend to handle only one or two of an event's technical needs--say, lighting or audio--this business offers a complete array of services. Its staff of 12 (which balloons to 30 during the busy season, from April to November) can handle staging, lighting, video, musical instrument rentals, and audio support. Though there are several longtime employees who have produced nearly every type of event, the owner acknowledges that the company needs a dedicated salesperson, which it has never had. He is selling out now to invest in another opportunity, one he declines to discuss but calls "the chance of a lifetime."

Company Financials 2005 2006 2007*
Gross Revenue $1.7 million $1.8 million $1.9 million
Discretionary Earnings $368,258 $380,601 $377,064
Gross Profit $584,710 $749,580 660,890
THE ASKING PRICE:

$2 million, which is the value of the company's assets, including staging, lights, and audio equipment. A buyer would need to renegotiate the business's lease--$4,800 a month for 10,500 square feet of office and warehouse space. The owner may finance a portion of the sale.

PRICE RATIONALE:

There is no set formula for valuing events companies. But given the company's client list and the staff's depth of experience, a price that is equal to 100 percent of revenue seems fair, says David Adler, founder and CEO of BizBash Media, a company that conducts research on the events industry.

THE PROS:

Despite concerns about the economy, interest in marketing through events appears to be growing. And industrywide, there's a shortage of competent lighting, audio, and video technicians. "It's like being in the military and learning a weapons system," says Adler. "If these guys have areas of expertise, that's valuable."

THE CONS:

Producing events is a capital-intensive endeavor. The business invests at least $100,000 annually in new equipment just to stay current. And the business is not exactly on fire. Thanks to rising fuel prices, the company's gross profit fell nearly $90,000 from 2006 to 2007.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

Though the asking price is reasonable, it is still equal to five times cash flow, meaning a buyer will have to ratchet up sales quickly to realize a solid return on investment. For that reason, someone who lacks experience in events or in a related field should probably steer clear of this deal.

Inc. has no stake in the sale of the business featured. The magazine does not certify the accuracy of financial or other information provided by the seller. Inquiries should be directed to Dennis Harvey, Sunbelt Business Brokers, at 615-361-3833, extension 206, or by e-mail at dennis@sunbeltnashville.com.

*Estimated, as of January 2008. Inc. also publishes paid business listings in the back of the magazine.