My advice to sellers of businesses is always the same – cash is king. Taking shares from the buyer in exchange for ownership of your company is risky. Think of it this way. If you had a wheelbarrow full of cash, and I asked you to tip it into a set of shares in ONE company what would you say? Yet sellers of private companies are exchanging their precious shares in their baby, their lifetime achievement or start up for shares in the acquirers’ shares every day.

Six months ago shareholders of Instagram did a deal worth $1Bn with a company called Facebook for shares. Today because the shares they accepted are now worth 45% less, their deal is now worth $1/2Bn. Bad call. I mean it’s still a huge sum of money but you get the point.