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Everything you need to know about taking over or selling a business

Each year, around 51,000 companies in France are sold by their owner to a buyer. What good reasons are there for taking over or selling a business? How can we ensure the transfer is successful?

Why should you sell your business?

From the initial resale decision to the final signing over, the business purchase or takeover process takes some time. Let’s say 12 to 18 months on average to resell a business. This delay obviously includes a minimum notice period from the transferor. There are many reasons to sell, including:

  • Immediate retirement – particularly if there isn’t a child or associate to take over the business
  • A desire to start a new project
  • The generation of a significant capital gain upon resale.

Excellent financial results obtained over the most recent tax year can welcome the ideal chance to sell up. You could actually negotiate a more attractive offer.

Why take over a business?

For any entrepreneur, taking over an existing company has substantial benefits compared to founding one. The buyer can actually expect:

  • To save precious time when it comes to administrative and practical formalities (drawing up articles of association, logo creation, business plan, website, equipment purchase, choosing a premises).
  • To see an immediate turnover due to taking over the customer network.
  • To already have knowledge of the balance sheet, thereby making it easier to get a bank loan to grow the company.
  • To have an existing team, meaning recruitment and further training is not required.

On the other hand, taking over a company most definitely calls for due diligence to determine the financial viability of the business, over the medium and long term. A buyer can benefit from the support of a professional body, for example, from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry or public bodies or an economic development agency if there isn’t a Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the area. 

Announcement boards: find a buyer or transferor

There are several platforms that help to put business owners ready to sell in touch with interested buyers. These announcement boards include :

  • The Entreprendre dans l’artisanat (Enterpreneurs in Arts and Crafts) network national board, specialising in arts and crafts businesses, with thousands of announcements nationwide.
  • The BPIFrance transfer board, with a database containing tens of thousands of announcements for companies and business assets in all sectors of activity.
  • The Departure/Setting up list, listing all farms that are being sold or are seeking new partners.
  • The Pôle-Emploi (Employment Centre) website, in its “Reprise d’entreprise” (business takeover) section.

Numerous regional resources can also help to identify businesses to be taken over such as the Gazette du Nord-Pas-de-Calais for the Hauts-de-France.

The steps to follow to take over a business

Do you want to take over a company? The procedure involves very meticulous preparation!

  • First, identify your needs by setting the criteria concerning your activity sector, region, type of industry and size of company right from the off.
  • Then, find a target by regularly consulting announcements, direct prospecting and following legal news.
  • Then, analyse its potential by carrying out a pre-screening based on its financial and accounting results, the catchment area, the potential for development, etc.
  • Finally, find a financial solution and decide on the most suitable business plan.


If you wish to buy or take over a business in Maritime Flanders or the Hauts-de-France, Dunkerque Promotion can help you. We make every step much easier and quicker by putting you in touch with the different organisations.

Entrepreneurs can rely on our extensive network of partners for effective advice and support for all their projects including business purchases and takeovers.

Everything you need to know about taking over or selling a business

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