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What are tyre kickers and how you can avoid them

I was struck by the recent article in the Australian Financial Review by Yolanda Redrup, who quoted a frustrated CEO of Infomedia saying he had “closed the door on tyre kickers”.

I have witnessed this frustration many times, where vendors become sick of so-called buyers who turn out not to be serious acquirers. In our view, these often-unqualified buyers frustrate vendors by absorbing enormous time and energy as the executive expends significant resources attempting to satisfy the unsatisfiable.

Irrespective of the size of the transaction, rarely will any buyer be talked into buying a business.

All serious buyers have a very good idea of what they are looking for and why. The strategic “fit” of the vendor’s business to the buyer’s criteria is the determining factor in the level of qualification of a given buyer; if the “fit” is good, then the less likely you are dealing with a tyre kicker. 

If the buyer is opportunistic, then perhaps there is an outside chance they might go through with a deal. However, rarely in our experience are the terms optimal for the vendor. The odds are long and not worth the drama. 

A well-organised and disciplined campaign will quickly qualify the “strategic fit” or otherwise of an active acquirer. This can often be done without releasing the identity of the vendor business and, in fact, is all about the buyer and his wants and needs. If there is no match between the buyer’s criteria and the features of the business being sold, no synergies and obvious benefits through a merger, then the quicker that potential buyer is ruled out the better.

Unfortunately, because of the small numbers of buyers relative to vendors in the market, advisors cling like barnacles to any interest they can find and busy themselves and their clients with meetings and information requests, which are likely to go nowhere, unnecessarily distract a busy vendor, and result in the kind of frustration that Jens Monsees of Infomedia experienced. 


Read How to sell a business- Lesson #4 here 


  1. Why Infomedia’s CEO is sick of the tyre-kickers AFR, Yolanda Redrup, Jan 15, 2023

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