It seems to me, there are three reasons to sell a company. Any of them will suffice:
1. The offer captures the upside
Every business has natural growth limits. If someone offered you $10 million for your coffee shop that does $250,000 a year in sales, it’s pretty clear you should sell—from a purely financial perspective. Finances are only one perspective, but if you have many shareholders, it’s one you are obligated to take seriously.
2. Imminent threat
There’s potential, and then there’s risk. And there’s always risk, even in the best situations. But there are cases in which your chances of reaching your potential are slimmer than normal and maybe even totally out of your control.
3. Personal choice
Sometimes the founders or other key people may just be done. This is actually quite common and drives a lot of small acquisitions. It doesn’t apply as much as companies get larger, because everyone is (eventually) replaceable—especially if the company is doing well.
Personal note: None of these applies to Seeking Alpha. Yet 🙂