One of the most important lifetime financial decisions a person may make involves the buying and selling of a business.
Columbia Financial Advisors has counseled buyers and sellers of businesses in various industries. We bring an independent and informed opinion to corporate boards, fiduciaries, individuals, and shareholders for this most important financial decision. We analyze transactions to determine whether a fairness opinion can or should be issued.
Public Company Services
Among the many services on behalf of publicly traded companies, we can determine appropriate discounts for blockage and/or restricted stock and appraisal and financial advisory services for going-private transactions and/or dissenting shareholder matters. We also provide financial advice and render opinions involving qualified benefit plans such as ESOPs and/or opinions to boards of directors. In addition, we provided option and warrant valuations and appraisals for financial reporting purposes.
In addition to a determination of value, a Fairness Opinion addresses whether a transaction is fair from a financial point of view. Columbia Financial Advisors brings an independent, impartial and – most important – informed perspective to corporate boards, ESOP trustees, or shareholders seeking advice and fairness opinions in evaluating a proposed transaction. The importance of having independent, trustworthy outside advice cannot be overstated, especially given today’s heightened sensitivity to potential or perceived conflicts of interest between management, directors, trustees, and shareholders.
Internal Revenue Code 409(A) Compliance & Financial Reporting
Internal Revenue Code Section 409(A) standards apply to all private companies that issue equity-based compensation. Failure to comply with Section 409(A) could result in tax penalties levied by the IRS if the equity compensation is issued at a price below fair market value. Using an independent appraiser, such as Columbia Financial Advisors, to perform a business valuation to determine the value of the equity securities helps ensure the securities are issued at or above fair market value to satisfy the requirements set forth in Section 409(A). Satisfying this assumption, safeguards members of board of directors from IRS scrutiny.
Valuations for young and venture-stage companies can be extremely complex and routinely include issues regarding the allocation of the enterprise value and probability scenario analysis. Columbia Financial Advisors has been at the forefront of this type of valuation and analysis and has performed business valuations for companies in every stage of enterprise development from seed-stage through the IPO process. In addition, Columbia Financial Advisors has considerable experience with the audit process, ensuring the valuation process does not impede your company’s audit. Generally, valuations for Section 409(A) compliance can also be used to satisfy the fair value requirement set forth in ASC 718 (Compensation - Stock Options, formerly SFAS No. 123R) purposes, leveraging the use of the appraisal engagement.