Transeo E-newsletter # 4


TECHNICAL ARTICLE 1 | Emotions Jewellery Case

By Toni Brunello, StudioCentroVeneto , Transeo Member (Italy), moderator of the Emotion Working group at Transeo Conference

You'll find below a summary of Toni Brunello's article on emotions in business transfers. The full version is available to Transeo Members upon request. Please note that the emotional aspects of business transfers will be further studied within the association in the coming months.

One of the Transeo Conference workshops was dedicated to The Impact of Emotions on Business Transfer. With 100 participants, the workshop, moderated by Transeo Member Toni Brunello, CEO StudioCentroVeneto (Italy), was a success and featured international experts: Annika Hall, (Professor, Jönköping International Business School, Sweden), Maarten van De Kimmenade (De Familiebedrijven Adviesgroep, The Netherlands), Sylvie Huard (Harmonie Intervention, Canada) and Edwin Weesie (University of Applied Sciences of Utrecht, The Netherlands). The workshop also proposed the testimonial of an entrepreneur, François Martineau (France). You'll find below some tips & tricks to manage emotions in business transfers... To go further in the topic, you are most welcome to join Transeo association and exchange good practices in the field.

Another kind of awareness

We know that transfers are emotional but this is not enough. To improve transfers another approach is needed. Emotions impact often in an indirect way, often because the individuals are not aware of their emotions. But yet the emotions are there and they influence the thinking, communication and decision-making. The problem is that when people are not aware of their emotions, they cannot manage them but instead they are managed by their emotions. Examples include reluctance of letting go because of fear of being redundant, of not knowing where to go, who to be. Or a tendency to downplay the next generation in order to not feel inferior. Or to want a too high price for the company. Or to not want to discuss the issue of transfer at all. Coming from their direct experience, professionals can help to assist individuals to "meet themselves" to face their own emotions in relation to the transfer and to see how emotions influence their behaviour. It is not about getting rid of emotions. It is about facing them and making something constructive out of them. It is possible but it takes willingness and sometimes assistance (of a transition facilitator with in depth understanding of the transition process).

Advice and suggestion for professionals to potential sellers before starting the business transfer process:

  • Identify most intense emotions and how they impact the transfer.
  • Face emotions and how they manifest.
  • Be prepared to work with. Transfers are emotional. Unless willing to deal with emotions might ruin the whole transfer.
  • Emotions are a natural and valuable part of life. If acknowledged and wisely handled, there can be a valuable asset in the transition process. But if not acknowledged and wisely managed they might ruin the whole transfer process.
  • How does the transferor want to fill in his life after the transfer?
  • Will the choice give enough meaning/satisfaction to him?
  • How does he/she want to be remembered after his departure?
  • How does he/she see the company after leaving?

Advice and suggestion for professionals to potential sellers during the transfer process:

  • Do not underestimate the emotional side. Transfers might be completely calculative but they seldom are.
  • What is the right buyer's profile of his company?
  • Be sure he knows the motives of the buyer and let him know his motives.
  • Turn over the information and leave the company after having sold.
  • Create emotional distance from the company by looking for alternatives to fill in his life in a meaningful matter.
  • Choose advisors who can understand his situation and background and not advisors who are focussed on the deal.

The first difficulties when an owner wants to sell his/her company is to take the decision. Generally, he/she has no time to think about the subject and also his/her mind is very confused on the subject because there is a mixed between his/her personal analyses and the market analyses. When he/she wants to sell the company, it is more than a choice, it is very often the end of his business career.

For the seller, selling the firm is the end of something as his/her everyday life, his/her personal success, a social status or in his/her own family. The seller will have to give up his/her job experience, company head manager status as lost.
There is also some pleasure emotions. If he/she succeeds to sell the company, it is the greatest recognition. In the same time you will sign the last decision in the way to assure the continuity (durability - perpetuity) of your company. It is also the way to secure your property. The investment in company is always a risk. Thus it is also the best way to find spare time for a manager who had the habit of "no time for me".

To receive the full article, please contact Transeo!


TECHNICAL ARTICLE 2 | Transeo Academic Awards 2012


Transeo launched the first edition of the Transeo Academic Awards in order to collect research papers concerning SME transfer among universities and research centers throughout Europe and reward the best three of them during Transeo Conference 2012.
The first edition gathered 13 high quality papers from 10 countries studying different technical issues in business transfer. Papers have been evaluated both by the Reading Committee, composed by the Transeo academic members - for the academic evaluation - and by the members of Transeo Board of Directors - for the input of the papers to professionals. The three best submissions were rewarded during the closing ceremony of Transeo Conference.We propose to discover abstracts of these three studies. Full texts are available to Transeo Members only.



(1st Prize) by Susanne Durst, University of Liechtenstein

In the past decades, a change regarding the critical assets in firms can be observed. In addition to financial and physical assets, intangible assets are now considered crucial to the success of all organizations. In the meantime, it is acknowledged that intangibles are the main driver of company value and growth in most industries. A central feature of intangible assets is their future perspective. This means that the focus is on future success potential and not on past performance. Prospective investors view intangibles as a key resource in their deliberations. Following this notion, it can be argued that companies of all sizes are increasingly prompted to spot these resources as their most precious assets and staff as the most sought-after resources.


The humble research attention may be a result of the fact that the intangible assets phenomenon is a relatively young field of study. One in which the increased interest had been shown only during the last decades of the previous century.
In view of the agreement regarding the central importance of succession issues in general and in SMEs in particular, the lack of information available on the relevance of intangibles in company succession represents a deficiency which this study endeavours to tackle.



(2nd Prize) by Carlo Salvato, Francesco Chirico and Pramodita Sharma

What factors influence exit from the founder's business and subsequent entrepreneurial renewal in a generational family firm? Guided by this research question, we trace the development of the Italian Falck Group from its inception as a steel company in 1906 - ascension as the largest privately owned steel producer in Italy - losses in the 1970s and 1980s leading to business exit from steel industry in the 1990s - followed by successful entry in the renewable energy business. A combination of insights from the literature and triangulation of data from multiple primary and secondary sources leads to the development of a model describing how inhibitors of exit from the founder's business can be transformed into facilitators of change. The critical role of farsighted ‘family champion of continuity' is found central in redirecting the family from its anchoring in past activities to focus on future entrepreneurial endeavours. While the commitment to the founder's business continues, the family champion aided by business savvy and astute non-family executives ably modifies its meaning of ‘continuity of the founder's business' from ‘steel production' to ‘continuity of the entrepreneurial spirit of the family', hence preserving the institutional identity. Insights from this study can help generational family firms which plan to exit from a failing course of action to regenerate so as to create trans-generational value.



(3rd Prize) by Christina Constantinidis and Teresa Nelson

A complicated set of issues face the daughters of family enterprise as they consider the development of their business careers. Traditionally, there are particular and extraordinary challenges for daughters aspiring to the top leadership position in their own family's enterprise. There is a sex-based preference that favors sons over daughters as managerial heirs, regardless of experience or temperament to lead. As a result, daughters have been relatively disadvantaged in acquiring key experience, training, and social support to assume the top role as they mature.

The aim of this research is to take an innovative approach to the topic of succession by adopting the career daughter's point of view as she considers her professional options, including entrepreneurship in her family's enterprise. Most research on succession is developed from the viewpoint of the organization, or its ruling generation. Our conceptual contribution is to engage a gender analysis, including consideration of the social phenomena of separation and hierarchy, in terms of the career-minded daughters' career development interest, with the intention of encouraging continued research that moves the academy to a more robust and international understanding of the phenomenon. Finally, we take into account the changing role of women in society, and in business, that may cause changes in assumptions or aspiration regarding the role of early career stage daughters in family business leadership. In addition to the conceptual development, we also present and discuss data collected from surveys in the United States and structured interviews conducted in Belgium. Our empirical inquiry was designed to explore the issues of daughters of family enterprise, and to determine how gender issues might be salient.


INTERVIEW| Centre de Reempresa de Catalunya

Transeo Conference gave an opportunity to meet an interesting initiative from Barcelona. Partially funded by the European Regional Development Fund "Centre de Reempresa de Catalunya" has accepted to present this new platform of business transfer.

How did the project start?

The latest studies show that in Catalonia, around 120,000 enterprises and 258,000 workers (650,000 and 1,400,000 in Spain) may be involved in transfer business processes in the next ten years. In a country where 99% of companies are SMEs, the lack of a structured market for the transfer of SMEs and the lack of an organisation responsible for monitoring the market, results in a loss of economic assets, a high mortality rate of companies and loss of jobs. Meanwhile, in Europe, we observed that many governments and the European Union institutions had launched some initiatives to improve and facilitate the transfer of businesses and that it had given good results in terms of growth, employment and sustainability. That's why we decided to implement a program to facilitate the transfer of businesses in our country. Thus, the CECOT Employers Association and the CP'AC Foundation, we launched the "Centre de Reempresa de Catalunya", a Public Private Partnership project funded 50% by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) from the European Commission.

How did you get the European funding?

In 2009 we decided to promote this new kind of entrepreneurship and to involve all Catalan institutions, public and private. So, we signed an agreement with the Government of Catalonia to begin developing the service. The Government was highly positive and we thought that the Project could be selected under the ERDF OP for Catalonia 2007-2013 to promote growth. In 2012, the Secretariat of Economy has considered that the Project was very helpful, so they decided a reallocation of ERDF resources scheduled until 2015.

Could you give your opinion on the European measures to improve SME transfer?

In 1994, the European Commission published some recommendations where, basically, they invited members to promote initiatives of awareness and training, as well as a better environment in terms of financing, legality and taxes. Although these measures have had a poor and uneven application among the members, the European community continues understanding that is necessary to establish mechanisms to facilitate the continuity of those companies that have no successor. Proof of this commitment is reflected in the last "Small Business Act" (SBA) which requires that members need to take measures to facilitate such transfers. Of all, I would like to emphasize the need of raising awareness, which will make visible to companies that there is a need for preparing for this stage and will also demonstrate that governments need to take political measures to benefit from this phenomenon.

What are the main missions of Reempresa?

Reempresa began with the desire to stimulate and regulate an incipient market that was fragmented and that was hampering mobility and improving of competitiveness. Our goal is to establish a general system by which an employer who wants to transfer his business to another will have access to a unique Market Place with expert advice and specialized training, and also where he will find the support of public administration and economic operators.

Do you already have some returns and achievements on the Catalan SME market?

The first step was to present the alternative to "ex novo creation" and to show that there is a market capable of creating wealth. Initial results have shown that this type of entrepreneurship can help in maintaining jobs, raise competitiveness and reduce the inefficiency that often occurs because of the high rotation of businesses in some regions. We noticed a wide acceptance by users, administration and institutions of economic promotion. The popularity of the phenomenon has led to an important influx of companies and entrepreneurs with self-employment projects. In Catalonia we have assured continuity to more than 45 companies, meaning more than 100 direct jobs. After this first phase of deployment and testing, which has been recognized by the European Commission Regional Policy as an example of good practice, the intention is to provide local service. People will have access to the market via Internet, but they will have also an expert in the nearest Reempresa point.

Which tools and services do you provide concretely?

Reempresa works as a physical and virtual space which coordinates support services to buyers and sellers and that pretends to concentrate data, information and knowledge. Traditionally, there has been a lot of informality and lack of transparency when transferring businesses and that's why our first task was to establish the right procedure and to create the right methodology. Therefore, we developed 2 guides, one for the buyer and one for the seller. These are supporting documents that would help them prepare the transfer of ownership and study the viability in each case. Apart from the platform, the software and the expert advice, we are also offering training capsules to bring users the specific knowledge of this kind of practices.

What was your motivation to attend Transeo Conference?

As you know, Transeo is the first association in the SME transfer sector in Europe and its mission is to encourage and promote the exchange of good practices and to make visible the phenomenon. As Transeo, Reempresa seeks to spread the virtues and, as a young project, we are also very interested in sharing experiences with other European initiatives. Attending the Congress has allowed us to participate of the European market's reality. That means we could know directly the main actors in this sector, while having access to high-level conferences and workshops to increase the efficiency and professionalism of our daily activities. By knowing the sector, you will know the concerns, what will help you in doing comparative studies on your work in order to improve and innovate. We think that the event was very successful and we hope to keep on participating. The composition of members: public, private and academic was very interesting in this event. This is certainly a differentiating factor that offers a more realistic overview of the whole sector, and besides at a European level. We found very interesting the workshop about "the impact of emotions in the transfer process". From "transfer" to "transition". In a country like ours, where there are many family owned companies, we understand that it is very important to consider the personal side, the emotional, in such transactions.

How can Transeo be helpful for your organization?

We think so. In addition to the exchange of good practices, we have many common goals. We expect that cooperation and knowledge sharing will let us achieve our purposes and get a strong voice in front of the European institutions. After the Congress, we studied the membership's benefits and indeed, we have decided that in the coming weeks we will formalize our inscription. We will be the first Spanish member of the association.

Information and contact


Did you know that...

News from Transeo members.

M&A Strategie GmbH, Germany, support succession process of SME

A German modern production and processing company for special yarn/thread was transferred on Sept. 1, 2012 as a whole to a German competitor. The company with sales of more than 6 mEUR was a family owned business in the 3rd generation since 1934. Due to missing succession within the family, the shareholders decided to give the company and all of its approx. 60 employees a long-term perspective in choosing a reliable and successful competitor as successor.

Dr. Hartmut Schneider, CEO of M & A Strategie GmbH, personnally led the complex negotiations and led them to the satisfaction of all parties to a balanced result. More information?



The last weel of October is Business Transfer Week in Flanders (Belgium)

Between 22 th and 26th October, in a series of presentations, professionals provide insights from within their areas of specialty on different aspects of business transfer. With this initiative, the Flemish Government wants to create opportunities for entrepreneurs to inform themselves and to come in contact with professionals. Business Transfer Week is part of a master plan of Agentschap Ondernemen to stimulate business transfer by raising awareness, giving information, supporting coaching and advice and to facilitate the financing of acquisitions.
Transeo will be speaking with Agentschap Ondernemen on 25th October at Ondernemen in Vlaanderen. For more information, please contact or go to


KitBrunello beyond borders

Transeo Member StudioCentroVeneto (SCV) is the designer of a system of tools aimed at facing business transfer as a "territory matter", so addressing its work to single micro and SMEs and to the whole territory at the same time. This is now known as Kit.Brunello.System - KBS, officially recognised in 2009 as European Good Practice in business transfer by the European Commission, to be hopefully spread towards all the Member Countries. In line with this recommendation, SCV is open to work with partners abroad who would be wishing to cooperate in spreading the KBS, according to their Regional/local needs. For more information please contact Transeo Member Toni Brunello and visit SCV website.


News from M&A in Germany

M&A Rüegg Mittelstandsberatung GmbH in Germany just concluded two professional company-valuations and sales-memorandums for "sell-site mandates" within the German building-construction-business and components for building-construction-business. The respective company turnovers range between 6.x to 15 Mio. € p.a. and the EBiT between 8% to 12% p.a.. Respective sales price (Share deal and cf/df assumed) are therefore estimated at app. 3.0 to 5.0 Mio. € in cash. Firm negotiations with potential buyers are already scheduled for Sept. 2012 ff. More information?



Diagnosis tool from Canada for successful business transfers

According to the "Ministère du Développement économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation", the success rate for the transfer of a family business only amounts to 30%. This 3-page questionnaire is designed to help potential sellers/buyers number among the 30% of successful business transfers. It will demonstrate that the most important part of the transfer process takes place before and after the actual transaction.
More information?



Avenues to improve success in SME business transfers : reflections on theories, research and policies
Pr. Lex van Teeffelen, University of Utrecht, has compiled an overview of recent knowledge, research and national and international policies in the field of business transfers. Chapter 1 delineates the domain and the theories, and formulates the research agenda. Chapter 2 deals with the importance of business transfers for national economies in Europe and provides a framework for policies regarding business transfers. Chapter 3 looks at the profiles of acquirers and successors in comparison to starters, and the effects of their profiles on business results. Then chapter 4 sets out issues requiring attention in the field of practice.

The Paper is available on Transeo website


"Clubs Repreneurs" SOWACCESS, Belgium
SOWACCESS launched last year its "Clubs Repreneurs", inspired by the Clubs organized by its partner "CRA, Cédants et Repreneurs d'Affaires". 9 groups have been organized all over Wallonia, which enabled the participants (potential buyers) to talk about their takeover project and expand their network. To this day, 130 potential buyers have taken part in the clubs. For more information, please go to SOWACCESS website



  • Business Transfer issues in COSME programme (2014-2020)

The European Commission follow-up programme of the Competiveness and Innovation programme (CIP) is called « Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs » (COSME). It will run from 2014 to 2020. COSME will, among others, support, complement and help coordinate actions by EU member countries. COSME will specifically tackle transnational issues that can be more effectively addressed at European level.

The initial objectives of COSME ought to:
• facilitate access to finance for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)
• create an environment favourable to business creation and growth
• encourage an entrepreneurial culture in Europe
• increase the sustainable competitiveness of EU companies
• help small businesses operate outside their home countries and improving their access to markets

Transeo submitted amendments to Members of the European Parliament including Jürgen Creutzmann, Rapporteur of the COSME programme, in order to add the topic of business transfer in the scope of COSME.

The promotion of business transfer is one of the recommendations of the "Small Business Act" review where Member states are reminded of the need to support business transfers and launch a campaign to promote these practices.
In the actual form of the project, COSME will:
• promote access to finance for SMEs in their start-up, growth and transfer phases.
• exchange of good practices. Such measures could include studies, impact assessments, evaluations and conferences.
• develop a set of performance indicators in cooperation with experts and relevant stakeholders, including SME representative organisations,
• support business networks, the transnational operation of clusters and the development of sustainable products, services and processes

The project is going to be adopted by end November in plenary session at the EU Parliament. Then the EU Commission will translate COSME objectives in concrete measures from 2014 to 2020. Transeo is in contact with the Commission to collaborate on such projects as the reference organization in Europe for transfer of SMEs.


  • Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan

Transeo answered the Commission's questionnaire on the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, which will outline the Commission's initiative to boost entrepreneurship in Europe. With this European Entrepreneurship Action Plan, the Commission wants to address areas where entrepreneurial potential can be unleashed and where key bottlenecks can be overcome and obstacles to entrepreneurial activities removed, including business transfer. This consultation seeks reactions to a variety of possible measures which could be brought together under this Action Plan so as to bring together the best practices for the broadest impact across Europe.

Transeo has underlined its will to work with the Commission on future projets and has pointed out the key areas of business transfers, in line with the SBA and SBA Review : awareness-raising of potential sellers (and buyers), valuation of SMEs, matching platforms, emotions in the transfer process, monitoring of transfers across Europe, ...


  • New Transeo Members

BDO Morocco

BDO Morocco is a member of BDO International, the fifth largest accountancy network in the world serving international clients. In Morroco, BDO Morocco assists its clients - whether small and medium businesses or major accounts. Regarding business transfer activities, BDO Morocco assists whether corporate or private equity professionals to secure and optimize their transactions through the following services: acquisition and vendor due diligence, valuation, assistance of sellers (during the transaction), selling memoranda, independant advice, business plans, data rooms organization and management, price revision clauses (assistance in price settling, arbitrage), business combination statutory audit, mergers statutory audit.
Through its Transeo membership, BDO Morocco expects to develop its skills, knowledge and experience regarding business transfers especially through effective collaboration and exchanges with the other members. That will allow them to be informed of the best practices of specialized professionals from Europe.

Contact person : Zakaria FAHIM, Managing Partner


Agenschap Ondernemen, Belgium

Agentschap Ondernemen is the agency of the Flemish government charged with the enterprise policy in Flanders, the Dutch speaking northern part of Belgium. It is the point of contact of the Flemish government for entrepreneurs.
In the field of business transfer, the agency develops an integrated policy that stimulates the continuity of companies by succession or acquisition. In close collaboration with the field operators, Agentschap Ondernemen develops actions:
• to raise awareness about business transfer in Flanders,
• to generate and disclose information (website, brochures, training programs, events),
• to subsidize coaching and advice.

Contact person: Bernard De Potter, Administrateur-generaal



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