In September, 132 Orange County businesses were sold, a 13.8 percent bump from a year earlier and a 46 percent rebound from August, according to BizBen.com, a website that specializes in California businesses for sale.
However, the number of sales through three quarters in 2012 still lags last year by 16.4 percent. Anaheim continued to lead other cities in the county in the number of businesses that were sold in the first nine months, 119, followed by Santa Ana, 83 businesses sold; Garden Grove, 74; Huntington Beach, 69; Newport Beach, 68; and Irvine, 61.
The number of local small businesses that sold in September is the highest since 2008 and may reflect buyers and sellers returning from vacation rather than a signal of a stronger economy, said BizBen President Peter Siegel.
"Because of people on vacation and the Olympics, everything got pushed into September," he said. "There were a lot of closings at the end of the month."
Business sales tend to fluctuate month to month but even year-to-year transactions showed a skid from 2005 when 412 Orange County businesses sold. The economic slowdown and recession clearly hit the businesses-for-sale market.
"A lot of loans in 2006 and 2007 should not have been done; banks didn't make credit-wise decisions," Siegel said.
But more recently, he is finding that the bankers he talks with are more willing to make loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration than they have been in the past.
"If a business has cash flow and other factors line up, there are banks out there that will do the deal," he said.
Business sales were also higher statewide and in surrounding counties, with the exception of Riverside, according to data on BizBen.com, which launched its beefier site Oct. 1 with more tools for would-be buyers to use and a new section where buyers can list the type of business they are looking for.
The September sales by county were:
--Los Angeles County, 366, up 36.1 percent from a year earlier
--Riverside County, 44, down 13.7 percent
--San Bernardino County, 57, up 29.5 percent
--San Diego County, 104, up 25.3 percent
--California, 1,232, up 22.7 percent.
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