Funding a Partner Buyout: 5 Financing Options To Consider

  • April 11, 2022

Buying out a partner is never easy. Sometimes the business relationship has soured and both of you just want to end it as soon as possible. Buying out your partner’s equity can also put a serious financial strain on you and the business. 

Banks are notorious for denying partner buyout financing unless the remaining partner can demonstrate how the business is likely to grow (and thus afford additional debt) after their partner’s departure. There are a number of methods for implementing a partner buyout, each with its own pros and cons.

5 Partner Buyout Financing Options

No matter how you go about it, partner buyouts are expensive. If you and the departing partner are the only owners, your partner is hoping to walk away with half of the business’ capital. To buy them out, you need to make up the difference. There are several strategies for doing this, and most involve you taking on a significant amount of debt. These are some of the most common methods for financing a buyout.

Utilize Equity Financing

If your partner wants to leave the company and you’re not especially interested in becoming its sole owner, you can sell your partner’s shares to another investor. If an investor buys your partner’s equity, they are now a legal partner in your business. 

Unfortunately, this can be detrimental to your business’ independence; all decisions must be made with the new partner’s consent. This is why most partnerships are dissolved with the remaining partner using debt financing to become the business’ sole owner.

Financing with an SBA 7(a) Loan

In the not-so-distant past, the government was almost universally opposed to guaranteeing loans for partner buyouts as they result in substantial negative equity for a business. To guard against default, SBA 7(a) loans required 20-25% buyer equity. However, a few years ago, the Small Business Administration altered that position to extend loans for partner buyouts if a business has at least a 9:1 debt-to-net-worth ratio and the buyer equity requirement was reduced to 10%. SBA 7(a) loans have relatively low-interest rates (though they are variable), long repayment terms (10-25 years), and can provide up to $5 million in capital.

Using an SBA 504 Loan To Buy Into a Partnership

SBA 7(a) loans are the financing of choice for partner buyouts, however, an SBA 504 loan is another good option in certain circumstances. The 504 loan can’t be used to purchase a business directly, but it can be used to purchase certain tangible assets within a business: real estate, equipment, etc. 

Unlike SBA 7(a) loans, 504s have fixed interest rates in addition to having low buyer equity requirements and generous repayment periods. The catch is that the loan can only be used for tangible assets that could be sold in the event of a default. 

An SBA 7(a) loan can be used to purchase intangibles like business patents, client lists, and name recognition. You could combine the two types of government-backed financing though, purchasing real estate and equipment with a fixed-rate SBA 504 loan and then using a variable rate SBA 7(a) to buy out the remainder of your partner’s equity.

AVANA Capital offers a diverse range of funding options, including SBA 504 loans for buying out a partner’s equity. With as little as 10% down, AVANA Capital can finance the buyout and make you the business’ sole owner.

Financing a Buyout Through Your Partner

If your partner is leaving on amicable terms and maintains a trusting relationship with you, they could leave via a buyout over time. This type of financing essentially makes the departing partner the lender; you buy out their half of the company over a period of months or years as the company grows. Unfortunately, most partners prefer to leave with a lump-sum payment to start their next venture, so this isn’t always a viable option.

Dissolve the Partnership

A dissolution differs from a buyout in that your partner retains their half of the business’ equity while legally separating. It’s similar to a divorce in that you’ll draw up a list of assets that need to be equitably divided. If your partner no longer wants to be involved in the business, he or she can find a buyer for his or her half of the assets. This has the advantage of you not needing to take on more debt, but splitting a business is messy and your halves could end up being worth less than the whole.

How AVANA Capital Can Help With Partner Buyout Financing

AVANA Capital’s SBA 504 loans can help you to finance up to 90% of the cost of a partner buyout with a loan repayment term between 12 and 36 months. Approval comes in as little as three days, so your partner can start the next chapter in their life and you can get back to running your business.

Don’t worry about applying for bank loans only to get denied. Let us help you navigate this challenging situation by providing you with the funds you need to complete your partner buyout quickly and seamlessly. Our team of experts has over 150 years of combined experience and can guide you through the SBA 504 loan process.

Apply today or contact us to learn more about how we can finance your partnership buyout.