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Succession Planning: Valuation and Your Exit via Internal Transfer, Merger/Acquisition

December 4, 2023 - December 5, 2023


Seminar Synopsis

We are thrilled to be able to reprise our Succession Planning seminar on December 4-5 in Atlanta, focused on valuation and your exit via internal transfer, merger, or acquisition. This year’s seminar will maintain an intimate format (limited to 35 agency principals, with plenty of networking opportunities, but with two big changes:

  • We are stretching it from 1 day to 1.5 days in order to cover more ground and allow for more networking and Q&A.
  • We are bringing in an outside perspective to bolster our content in the form of Chris Handy. He has gone through the process of selling his agency and is now helping to build the agency towards another exit. His bio is below.

This year, we will spend more time walking through the process of building a valuation (which you’ll be able to do for your own firm live), talking through the pros and cons of an internal transfer to an employee, and what to expect out of the entire M&A process. 

The content we cover is hard to find elsewhere, particularly for the marketing and creative industry. If you’re even remotely considering a sale at some point, we hope you’ll join us. You’ll walk away with valuable information, contacts, and (hopefully) more direction.


December 4-5, 2023. We will end with lunch on Tuesday. Optional networking and socializing events will be scheduled Monday afternoon and evening.


Monday Night Garage in Atlanta, GA


$2,300 per attendee.

Agenda (subject to change)

Monday, December 4

  • 08:30a Registration and Coffee
  • 09:00a Introductions
  • 09:30a When and why succession surfaces
  • 10:00a What is your firm worth? Valuation theory and real-time application to your firm
  • 12:00p Networking Lunch
  • 01:00p What are your options? Buyer/seller scenarios
  • 02:00p The typical sales process
  • 03:15p What do buyers look for?
  • 04:00p Q&A and open bar
  • 07:00p Networking Dinner Private dining at local favorite Miller Union

Tuesday, December 5

  • 08:30a Coffee
  • 09:00a How do you navigate a deal? Dealing with that first offer
  • 10:00a Earn outs: the good, the bad, the ugly
  • 11:00a The ins and outs of an internal sale
  • 12:oop Networking Lunch
  • 01:00p Q&A and wrap-up discussion
  • 01:30p Seminar Ends



Speaking will be split between David C. Baker, Jonathan Baker (bios here) and Chris Handy. Chris Handy is the CEO and co-founder of Engine Shop, the experiential marketing agency for brands needing a breakthrough.  Engine Shop, formed in 2012, grew to be one of the more prominent, independent experiential agencies before being acquired in 2015.  Chris has remained with the agency post-acquisition, post-earnout and post-pandemic as he works to take the company to another exit.  A former CPA, corporate lawyer and sports agent, Chris considers the sale of his agency one of the most rigorous challenges to personal identity, character and values he experienced in his career.


Not included, but suggested booking at Bellyard Hotel, within walking distance of dinner (and stumbling distance back). Note: Lunches, dinner, snacks, and all beverages (alcoholic and otherwise) are included.

Additional Details

A core belief that informs our advisory work with independent, expert marketing firms is this: firms fail or thrive based almost entirely on the quality of their business decisions. However creative you are, unless your business is run on sound principles you’re not going to be around long, and your actual and potential clients won’t benefit from your expertise.

A prime example of this challenge is the fact that very few firms succeed past the original owner group. While we have led 200+ equity transactions of all types, it’s still rare. Do you want to be one of the firms that maximizes your investment? Do you want to know how buying and selling works, where the buyers come from, how they evaluate a firm like yours, and what they’re willing to pay? And would you like to run your firm so that it’s far more likely that you’ll benefit from succession?

If so, this 1.5 day intensive is for you. It’s only for principals or employees who want to buy a firm, but you’ll be amazed at what you can learn in a solid day and a half.

Every firm that attends is not for sale, and few of them will be, but you’ll learn as much from fellow attendees–their struggles and triumphs–as you do from the material.

We’ll talk about when and why you are most likely to begin thinking about this. Oddly enough, it’s not tied directly to your age but one particular financial obligation and two challenges that tend to wear principals out.

We’ll then put our science hats on and walk through valuation theory and application. You’ll learn about weighting, multiples, EBITDA adjustments, normalizing principal compensation, inverse multiples, equity vs. goodwill, client concentration penalties, and standard deviation. You’ll be able to play with the formulas and get a rough idea of your firm’s value as we build a valuation from scratch together.

Then we’ll put a buyer’s hat on and look at your firm like they will. What’s important and what isn’t. You’ll be surprised by a few things, like how unimportant (to them) your employee base is and how important other things are.

Then you’ll craft your own plan for dealing with that inevitable offer that will come your way. What do you tell them and when, and what’s should you do on your own before bringing a professional into the picture? We’ll describe the story (only in part financial) that you’ll craft to maximize the value of your firm.

A significant amount of time will reveal the major buyer/seller scenarios, like holding companies, equal mergers, acqui-hires, non-traditional buyers, strategic purchases, buying capacity, selling only the accounts, and of course the intricacies of transitioning the firm to one or more key employees.

We hope you can join us in Atlanta. Feel free to bring a significant other with you to join for dinner.


December 4, 2023
December 5, 2023
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Monday Night Garage
933 Lee St
Atlanta, GA 30310 United States
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