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Acquisitions are in many respects similar to the marriage process with individuals. There is an initial engagement, then the dating game, then matters become more serious when both parties focus on long-term issues, and then there are (or should be) specific discussions about definitive terms of the contract. Along this road, at least with business acquisitions, the buyer wants to obtain details about the seller's business to ensure that the business has the value that is being reflected in the purchase price.
The due diligence investigation effort in an acquisition begins early in the process and continues to the closing date. Once "engagement" has been agreed to in a letter of intent, the investigation intensifies. For the buyer, confirming the value and ownership of the tangible assets of a business is a relatively straightforward endeavor. However, confirming the ownership and then valuing the intangible assets of a business can be difficult.
The value …