Data Domain, a data storage company, is currently the target of an aggressive bidding war between NetApp and EMC. Data Domain is the industry leader in its product niche and both suitors seek to use their larger resources to gain control of this growing new market.
According to The New York Times, NetApp on May 20th offered $1.5 billion in cash and stocks (about $25 per share) to buy Data Domain. On Monday, EMC, the world’s biggest maker of storage computers, made an unsolicited bid of $1.8 billion in cash (about $30 per share). NetApp subsequently revised its bid up to $1.9 billion.
Analysts have suggested the final price could top $35 per share.
The lesson here is that when a seller can find at least two bidders, the seller’s leverage is usually strengthened because they now have a good alternative (or Plan B) to each of the bidders. Finding multiple potential buyers allows sellers to play each buyer against the others to obtain the best possible deal.
Plus, public bidding wars often stoke potential buyers’ egos, competitive spirit and emotions – all of which can cause them to bid more than they might otherwise.
Finally, it’s tough in this economically challenged time to really ensure you get the highest price when selling an asset. Finding multiple potential buyers will help you avoid the appearance of desperation and help you maximize your results.
So if you’re selling a company or anything else – take the time to find more than one potential buyer. It will almost always pay off.