State of the Art

Europe is loosing approximately 150,000 firms representing 600,000 jobs a year due exclusively to inefficiencies in business transfers. European Commission estimated that transfers affect up to 450.000 SMEs and 2 million jobs every year.

Transfer failures destroy economic capital, which includes specialized knowledge, established contacts and other forms of intangible assets, and they lead to a devaluation of tangible assets which are no longer part of an operating business. Failed business transfers result in job losses and a reduction of economic growth.

The effective transfer of businesses is clearly assisted by the existence of efficient market places in which sellers and buyers can meet and also gather information about comparable opportunities and some of the subsidiary elements that are necessary for a successful deal. Because of the central importance of open, transparent markets in the facilitation of business transfer, their development has been seen as a critical element in the promotion of effective business transfers.

There is a gradually growing set of on-line market places for business transfers and the emergence of the Internet has greatly facilitated its creation, but:

  • Not all existing tools appear to be equally successful in bringing together potential buyers and sellers.
  • Not all databases are being provided by a neutral and trustworthy host organization as the Commission has strongly recommended.
  • No all sites offer sufficient and comprehensive mediation services
  • Most countries have several databases, allowing Market’s fragmentation and hampering competitiveness’ improvement and mobility.
  • Online markets are showing a gradual tendency to move beyond national boundaries.

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