How Having Multiple Owners Affects Business Value


One important thing for Buyers looking to value a business is for them to recalculate EBITDA and SDE if there are multiple owners of the business. It is easy for a non-seasoned business valuations expert to overlook the true SDE and EBITDA when there are multiple owners of a business.

For example, see the Line 12 number of  $38,957 below for Compensation of Officers for a tax return.


It seems like SDE and EBITDA would be easy to calculate, just add back the $38,957 for SDE and EBITDA would remain unchanged.  If there is only one Seller that calculation would be correct, but what if there are multiple Sellers?  How does that change EBITDA and SDE? Does it changes SDE and EBITDA?

The Buyer would need to replace one of the Sellers.  This cost to replace the Seller would not be added back to arrive at EBITDA, it would be subtracted.  Both EBITDA and SDE would be reduced. The reason for this is the Buyer would incur the cost of replacing one of the Sellers.  Here is one other thing to consider:  is the current wage of the Seller who is going to be replaced more or less than the is receiving less than the cost to replace them?   Whatever that cost is going to be, that is the amount of expense that would be included in the calculation of SDE and EBITDA.

For example, let’s assume the cost to replace one of the owners is $25,000. See the correct calculations below:

Erroneous Calculation                                       Correct Calculation with Multiple Sellers 

Net Income              $X,XXX,XXX                                                     $X,XXX,XXX


Interest                            XX,XXX                                                            XX,XXX

Inc Taxes                           XX,XXX                                                          XX,XXX

Deprec                              XX,XXX                                                           XX,XXX

Amort                                XX,XXX                                                          XX,XXX

Cost to replace

Owner                            XX,XXX                                                           (25,000)

 EBITDA                          XX,XXX                                                           XX,XXX


Owner Wages                 $38,957                                                           $38,957

Cost to Replace

Owner                             XX,XXX                                                            XX,XXX

SDE/Cash Flow          $XXX,XXX                                                       $XXX,XXX

The result of the above is that EBITDA and Cash Flow are reduced by $25,000.  We used $25,000 as a basis for the example, but the number could far greater impact on the business because, let’s assume a 3x multiple of SDE as a basis for value, then the value of the business would actually be $75,000 less due to the correct calculation.

This is a critical part of a business valuation often overlooked by non-seasoned business valuators.



Rick Krebs, CPA – Valuations Expert & Mergers and Acquisitions Professional.  Creator of the MyBizValue system for business valuation and Principal at Business Sales Group.  He graduated with a Master’s of Science Degree and Bachelor’s Degree from Utah State University. He has been valuing businesses for over 24 years.



Business Valuation Expert at My Biz Value having valued hundreds of businesses and dental practices nationwide, Rick is an expert in valuing all types of businesses. He has access to multiple national databases of comparable business sales which are used in the Valuation Reports. His business sales experience lends itself well to correctly valuing businesses. See: Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Professional. Head of the M&A division of Business Sales Group. Advisory services are offered to clients in the Rocky Mountain and Midwest regions of the US. BSG occupies the Mid-market space specializing in selling and buying high-growth potential businesses with ample runway having Sales of $1 million-$50 million. Rick is a "deal guy"​ who specializes in maneuvering through the "sticky"​ parts of a transaction to accomplish the Seller's objective. See:
Shopping Cart