Which offer? — Decision Puzzle 02

Emre Soyer
3 min readNov 3, 2021

Decision Puzzles are based on real events, where a critical decision is required without prior preparation. There may be various solutions depending on the situation and the decision maker. What would be yours?

You are 56 years old and have owned a medium sized company for 25 years. You enjoy your work. You are usually the first one to come in every day, and last to leave. You own quite a big house in an expensive part of the city and have a summer residence in the Mediterranean coast with a boat at a nearby marina. They are a 5-hour trip away.

You have had a successful career and were featured in various business magazines. Unfortunately, you can use your boat at most 2 weeks per year, as your business requires constant attention. Your 2 children have grown up and are already taking care of themselves.

Your spouse, who had a cancer surgery 6 years ago but is healthy now, came up with the idea that you both stay longer at the seaside, using the boat more often. To follow up on that, you asked an M&A consultancy to take your business to market. They have recently presented to you 2 offers for 100% of the shares of your company. In both cases a partnership is not accepted. The offers are:

A A ton of gold in financial benefits, half paid by agreement date, rest in 4 yearly installments. You are to stay as the CEO for the next 5 years with 30 days of vacation to be used in 2 parts. The bonuses will be calculated based on the profits and not on turnover. The current company name with your initials will be preserved while you are the CEO.

B Half a ton of gold in financial benefits, all paid at the agreement date. In the next 3 months you will be delegating your responsibilities to someone appointed by the purchaser and from then on you can be anywhere you want, but reachable by phone for the next 12 months. You will receive a modest monthly income as long as you want to stay as a consultant.

From the financial benefits point of view, both offers are more than satisfactory.

Just one day after you received the offers, one of your biggest competitors called you to check if your wish to buy 50% of his company is still valid. “You will be the happiest person in the country” he told you. If you go ahead with this merger, you’ll be the market leader and have the opportunity to grow internationally in ways that you have been dreaming about since the conception of your company.

But you also know that if your two potential purchasers hear about this merger you may lose their interest in your company.

How would you proceed?

What would be a wise decision?



Emre Soyer

behavioral scientist, co-author of The Myth of Experience