Increase occurs in count of California small businesses sold in January

By February 7, 2011

DUBLIN — The 1,248 small and mid-sized businesses sold in California last month represents the best January total since 2008.

The Index, which tallies and reports on small business sales in California, also showed last month’s count of closed deals nearly matched the 1,253 total for December 2010, when many entrepreneurs made sure to conclude transactions in order to meet their tax planning goals.

“This increase is a positive indication we’re starting to experience the turnaround that has been predicted,” said Peter Siegel, MBA, president and founder of “We’ve seen a number of factors getting in the way of completed transactions. What’s going on now is California entrepreneurs are adapting to the realities in the marketplace.”

Those realities, according to Siegel, include “the decline in business values because of reduced small business profits, and the difficulty in getting loan approvals for the funds needed to complete business purchases.”

Figures released by the Index Feb. 7 show mixed results last month for the largest counties in the state. Los Angeles County businesses sold at a slower rate — a total of 277 deals — compared to January 2010 when 292 sales were completed. And the decline recorded in Santa Clara County was a total of 58 sales vs. 83 in January 2010.

But Orange County saw a big increase to 142 transactions from the 96 recorded in January 2010, and the 80 deals closed in January 2009.

Other large counties showing advances were San Francisco with 62 complete d escrows last month, up substantially from 34 in the first month of the prior year, and San Diego County with 118 sales compared to just 50 deals closed in January 2010.

Siegel noted that growth in the state’s small business sales activity can be attributed, in part, to the fact that “sellers are starting to come around, getting more realistic about current business values and the need to provide financing in order to make a transaction work.”

He also noted “There is a bit more willingness on the part of business lenders to provide money needed by business buyers, but we’re still not at the level of lending and borrowing that we saw before the financial meltdown of 2008.”

The Index January report on the sale of small businesses in California, by county (available at the January statistics page) is as follows:

A lameda: 42, Butte: 8, Contra Costa: 35, El Dorado: 11, Fresno: 52, Humboldt: 5, Imperial: 1, Inyo: 1, Kern: 47, Kings: 1, Los Angeles: 277, Madera: 4, Marin: 13, Mendocino: 1, Merced: 6, Monterey: 22, Napa: 3, Orange: 142, Placer: 14, Riverside: 43, Sacramento: 34, San Bernardino: 58, San Diego: 118, San Francisco: 62, San Joaquin: 5, San Luis Obispo: 9, San Mateo: 19, Santa Barbara: 18, Santa Clara: 58, Santa Cruz: 21, Shasta: 4, Solano: 6, Sonoma: 27, Stanislaus: 13, Sutter: 8, Trinity: 1, Tulare: 17, Ventura: 35, Yolo: 4, Yuba: 3

Press Release

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