To date, business succession took place mainly within the family, while sales to members of the company's workforce, executives of other companies, or companies have been of lesser importance. Various developments, among other the possibility of shrinking demand in the course of demographic change, suggest that there may be an increase in business sales in the future. This assessment has caused the range of commercial brokerage services to grow considerably. As much as this is to be welcomed in principle, it is problematic that some service providers raise unrealistic expectations about sales opportunities and revenues.
This research project aims to determine how many companies are sold each year (in the course of business succession) or change hands through donation or inheritance. To determine which companies have any prospects of being continued, the project also aims to determine which company assets are transferred. Without corresponding statistics, we draw upon the Taxpayer Panel, which contains data on capital gains, gifts and inheritances at the personal level for the period 2001 to 2016. Since a steady development over time can be assumed, these data also allow an assessment of the current situation.