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Situation:

I am in a technical leadership position at a small tech startup. The rest of the leadership team has quit over the last six months. It is just me, the CEO, and couple sales dudes, customer management, and engineers. I gave my notice and was informed that the CEO was talking to "parties" and said that an acquisition could close in 8 weeks.

facts:

  • Know the potential acquiring company.
  • I know the potential value add that we would bring to the table.
  • Don't know any details about retention bonuses, stock, etc, size
  • Don't know how real the deal is
  • CEO has stated that the acquisition would be for the technology not the team (this doesn't make sense in my opinion, technology without engineers is useless)
  • I have a nice Job offer

Potential upsides:

  • retention bonus possibility?
  • accelerated vesting, but would have to be negotiated. Not part of the stock agreement.

Downsides:

  • Have to walk away from the current offer.
  • Deal could evaporate and then have to restart job search.
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  • 4
    So what is your question? Do you want us to decide for you? That could be fun!
    – mikeazo
    Jan 12, 2017 at 13:25
  • VTC -- where is the question?
    – Neo
    Jan 12, 2017 at 13:41
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    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Avoid uncertainty.
    – Snowlockk
    Jan 12, 2017 at 13:55
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    `Instead of thinking, "what should I do?" when they told you this, your immediate thought should have been "Whew! I'm glad I already have something then!" You're also making the mistake of thinking that they would retain you, even if it happened tomorrow. They might but they could just as well lay you off or at best give you severance if you help transition. In my experience, acquisitions RARELY works well for the management of the acquired. You're more likely to LOSE the job than get a better one there.
    – Chris E
    Jan 12, 2017 at 15:12

2 Answers 2

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Until the acquisition closes, it may as well not exist. If there aren't already clear signs of the acquisition happening (beyond what the CEO told you when you gave notice), it's probably not going to happen in within 8 weeks. And you can't ever assume that there'll be a retention bonus, accelerated vesting or anything of the sort. Bear in mind that the people negotiating this acquisition (if one is even in the works) are not looking out for your best interests.

This sounds to me like a tactic to get you to stay. That "the rest of the leadership team has quit over the last six months" is telling - why are they leaving the CEO, who's now telling you that an acquisition is in the works? Surely if something like this was coming, they'd stick around to get some kind of buyout from the new owner. And on top of that, if the acquisition is "for the technology", you'll train your replacement and then be looking for a new job anyway.

You've already made your decision that you want to move on from this company. You have an offer in hand that's good enough that you accepted it without knowing about this acquisition. With all the uncertainty of this alleged acquisition, why waste the opportunity?

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Ignore the takeover. It may fall through, it could go through and you could be made redundant. So if I were you, just look forward.

Giving up a new job based on a lot of uncertainty is not a wise move in my opinion.

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