The Canadian Bar Insurance Association

Several factors at play when boomers sell businesses

Toronto business lawyer Inga Andriessen says she has noticed a surge in the amount of older business owners who are starting to sell their companies.

The greying of the population and the boomer shift have been discussed for a number of years, but Andriessen says push is finally coming to shove.

"Many baby boomers who own their own companies are starting to sell,” Andriessen, principal of Andriessen & Associates. “Normally we have a wide age range of people coming to the firm but there’s been an influx of business owners in their late 60s and beyond looking to sell their businesses. They're either selling the assets or selling the corporation itself.

“We're finally starting to see the big wave of the boomers retiring,” she adds.

Andriessen tells she suspects there are several factors at play behind the trend.

"I think many baby boomers are hitting a critical age. There wasn't going to be a mass retirement when they all turned 65. Now that they’re entering their 70s, they’re getting to the point where they're done with running a business and all that goes along with it,” she says.

She says another factor is that boomer business owners have been patiently waiting for the economy to get better. “I think the feeling now is that it's not going to improve any time soon.”

The third contributing factor, Andriessen says, is the Greater Toronto Area’s red hot real estate market.

“This real estate bubble has spiked the value for companies that own real estate,” she explains.

“Those who own real estate are ready to cash in and get out.”

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