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Last Year and Month Show 34% Fewer Business Sales Throughout California


The 14,277 small and mid-sized businesses that changed hands in the state last year represent a 34% decline from 21,689 sales recorded in 2008, and a count of last month’s deals, 1,193, also shows a 34% drop when compared to the 1,804 closed escrows in December 2008.

While disappointing, these results are certainly consistent with our expectations, considering the difficulty buyers have been experiencing when trying to tap business banks for the loans needed to complete their purchases. Uncertainty in light of the lagging economy also has contributed to the reduced activity. Many would-be buyers and sellers have chosen to “wait out’ the market in hopes things will soon improve.

Some growth in sales activity in December (1,193), compared to November’s 954 transactions, might be a sign that the market for small businesses is becoming more robust. But anyone who has watched the ups and downs, month to month in 2009, realizes it’s too early to call this movement a trend.

All of the largest counties in the state registered a drop in small and mid-sized business sales volume in the year just past. Los Angeles County saw its market slip to 3,769 deals in 2009 from the 5,533 count in 2008. The 38% decline in San Francisco was from 822 to 502, and the slide in San Diego County was more than 40% to 1,401 from the 2,422 figure registered in 2008. Orange County’s 41% fall-off in activity, 2,274 to 1,336, was exceeded by a 54% dive in Riverside County, where the 2009 transaction total of 308 contrasts with the 676 deals closed in 2008.

A breakdown of 2009 sales stats pages by county is provided and updated regularly.


Categories: Business For Sale Statistics



  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Joe Sandbank, Esq. - Legal Services

I have provided legal counsel to business buyers, sellers and brokers for over 17 years. With prior experience as a business broker and SBA loan officer, Joe brings both a practical and legal approach to all aspects of the business acquisition process.

Ranvir S. Sandhu, Esq. - Legal Services For Buyers And Sellers

I've worked at top Bay Area law firms and have extensive experience with business entity formation, mergers, dissolutions, conversions, employment matters, including experience in reviewing and negotiating transactional documents such as leases and purchase agreements.

Brad Steinberg, Broker - Laundromat Specialists

PWS is the leading laundromat broker in California. Since 1968 PWS has brokered over 2,500 laundromat sales. With over 90 employees dedicated to the coin laundry industry, PWS has 18 licensed agents, a 3 person in-house finance department, 10 service technicians and a 20 person parts department.

Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - SF Bay Area

McGovern Escrow Services, Inc., is a leading independent escrow company. We are a trusted partner with our clients, assisting them through the tangled bulk sale & liquor license transfer process. We provide attentive, quality & innovative customer service. Phone Elizabeth McGovern at 415-735-3645.

Helen Yoo: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - Southern California

New Century Escrow, Inc. is a fully licensed & bonded independent escrow company. Over 20 years combined experience in handling bulk escrow transactions. Multi-lingual staff that speaks your language, including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese. Call Helen Yoo direct at 626-890-1151.

Diane Boudreau-Tschetter: Escrow And Bulk Sale Services

California Business Escrow, Inc. is a full service independent escrow company serving all of California and has expertise in a wide range of escrows. Our team prides itself on providing an exceptional escrow experience. For more info phone Diane Boudreau-Tschetter at 888-383-3331 or 209-838-1100.

Janet Carrera - Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - SF Bay Area

Redwood Escrow Services, Inc. is a full service, licensed independent escrow company. We are EAFC Fidelity bonded, fully insured & licensed with the Department of Corporations. Committed to offering our clients the most comprehensive variety of escrow services available. Phone Janet at 510-247-0741.

Mark Chatow, Esq.: Legal Services For Buying, Selling Businesses

Mark has a broad range of small business purchase & sale experience from analyzing potential acquisition targets to successfully guiding buyers and sellers through the purchase & sale of small businesses. Mark can assist with contracts, negotiations, legal matters, etc. Reach Mark at 949-478-8393.


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