In 1975, International Business Associates, commonly known as IBA, was established by a group of experienced business brokerage & commercial real estate professionals who believed that they could provide better representation services while maintaining confidentiality than was currently available to the Pacific Northwest business community. Transactions completed by IBA during our first decade frequently included both the business & real estate, as it was quite common at that time for business owners to simultaneously own both assets. The 1980’s & 1990’s saw a dramatic increase in the commercial development of real estate in the region resulting in a higher percentage of businesses that were tenants rather than property owners. This shift occurred in business sectors ranging from hospitality to industrial and from retail to manufacturing. IBA smoothly adjusted to this changing marketplace becoming experts at facilitating lease negotiations & assignments. However, in the mid 1990’s a new business model also began to emerge in the privately held business community, the virtual business model. The virtual business model differed from the historically employed business models because it phased out the need for a “brick & motor” location where customers and/or employees interacted.
IBA, as the premier mergers & acquisitions firm in the Pacific Northwest, was approached by a diverse spectrum of first generation virtual business entrepreneurs with requests for transactional assistance with valuation, business sales, and merger negotiations in the late 90’s & early 00’s. IBA’s team of knowledgeable, experienced professionals accepted this new challenge and excelled on behalf of their clients in negotiations where market comparables where not available, legal standards were still being established, and generally accepted accounting principles for new industries were still in development. One venue where robust merger & acquisition activity was facilitated by IBA during this time period was in the sale of internet service providers (ISP’s). This was a classic “bigger fish eating smaller fish” mergers & acquisition marketplace where entrepreneurs were either forced to grow to stay competitive or risked becoming competitively disadvantaged. IBA also began facilitating transactions in the E-commerce & software marketplaces during the 1990’s.
Today, a significant percentage of IBA’s transactions involve virtual business models. The virtual companies we have represented in the present decade include software companies, E-commerce businesses, a spectrum of service companies generating revenue from customer bases of consumer, businesses, and government & pseudo-governmental entities, and manufacturing companies that outsource 100% of their production. Our reputation for knowledgeable, highly skilled representation of privately held companies in the virtual business space has also resulted in representation requests from outside of the Pacific Northwest and successfully completed transactions from New England to North Carolina on the East Coast and from Arizona to Alaska on the West Coast with numerous successfully completed projects in between.