The Gap Between Selling a Company and Telling the World

At 11:05am on Tuesday, October 9th, my co-founder and I finished digitally signing all the legal documents. Pardot was officially acquired by ExactTarget. At lunch that day, with three other senior leaders from the team, I looked up, smiled, and commented that we were all unemployed.

See, as part of the selling the company, each member of the executive team signed a legal agreement resigning from Pardot. Then, after the deal went through, everyone but myself signed an employment agreement to be a part of ExactTarget. For a period in the middle, technically, we were unemployed.

More important than being unemployed, we had sold the company, but we couldn’t tell the staff until 3pm on Thursday, and couldn’t tell the world until the public markets closed at 4pm on Thursday. For 51 agonizing hours, we tried to continue on as usual, all the while knowing that we’d sold the business and huge changes were imminent. Life was never going to be the same.

What would our team members say? Were we a sell out? Would we really be able to grow faster with more resources? How would the culture, the thing we valued the most, change? What’s next? We didn’t have all the answers, but we knew that there was a huge opportunity to lock in a “win”, and have a chance at becoming the most widely used B2B marketing automation platform in the world.

Selling a company is an incredibly emotional experience, and, one of the most anxiety-ridden parts is the time between closing the deal and telling the world.

2 thoughts on “The Gap Between Selling a Company and Telling the World

  1. I always told me team I would take then to the super bowl and selling th company is just that. A life changing experience that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. It is these events that not only change the life of the entrepreneur but that of a community and the team. Never be afraid to summit the peak when climbing a mountain and keep your emotions in check to keep things rationale. Play it cool and never look back! The key is having goals, vision and outcomes aligned! There is no way to prepare for this other than realizing that your baby has grown up and by letting go is the only way to let it thrive!

  2. Excellent read! As I plan on taking big steps to building out my idea this really gave an interesting concept on what goes on in the acquisition process and the thoughts of execs. Hope to be in the same boat a few years from now 🙂

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