Exit Planning Tip: Develop recurring revenue streams

Why should business owners care about their revenue structure, especially when they are considering a sale in the near future?

The recurring revenue business model gets a lot of attention in M&A activities, especially when discussing the purchase price. The EV/revenue and EV/EBIT multiples paid for companies that incorporated software-as-a-service (SaaS) – based business models are significantly higher than software firms with an „On-Premise“ business model. The value of the recurring revenues in the software industry is uncontested.

But there has also been a massive strategy shift in terms of revenue composition in other industries like distribution (think of #Amazon prime), news & media (think of #Netflix), consumer discretionary goods and services (think of #Dollar shave club), healthcare and financial services. But even large industrial and capital businesses, have incorporated recurring revenue streams in their “business-as-a-service” model.

There are several reasons why businesses are shifting towards the recurring revenue model, but the main reason is inherently better predictability of revenues, earnings, and cashflows. This helps the management and owners of a company in budgeting expenses, stocking inventory, and investing in growth and expansion.

When it comes to M&A activity, a high ratio of recurring revenues means that there is less risk and a better base for expansion for potential buyers, which also leads to better conditions in the financing of the transaction and ultimately to higher valuations.


Simon Fabsits, MSc
Dealbridge M&A Advisors Austria & Liechtenstein

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