When Bradley G. Marlor tried to buy a business in 1989 through a broker, the lack of professionalism made him mad. He didn't buy the company.

His anger was further enhanced when two weeks later he made an offer to purchase an accounting and bookkeeping company. The next day the agent told him someone in another office had sold the business previously and the transaction wasn't publicized.These two unhappy experiences were strong factors in Marlor creating Marlor Associates, which is doing business as Utah Business Consultants, 810 Boston Building, and serving as an intermediary in the purchase and sale of businesses.

Utah Business Consultants is the exclusive Utah affiliate of The Geneva Companies, an international merger and acquisition organization that is the consistent American leader in completing mid-range mergers and acquisitions, Marlor said.

With a father as a professor at Ricks College and having degrees from The University of Phoenix, Westminster College and Brigham Young University, Marlor enjoyed the education scene, but spent nine years doing finance and accounting in corporate America.

He did oil and gas accounting for Wexpro, a subsidiary of Questar Corp., for more than five years and then had an opportunity to move to Bonneville Pacific, a company that eventually wound up in financial trouble and left some officers facing jail time or heavy fines.

Marlor left after 4 1/2 months because the company was "out of control."

In the abortive 1989 deal, he wanted to purchase an existing business that had cash flow and a broker took him to a business and talked about the new carpet and the owner driving an expensive car, but never did talk about the financial condition of the firm.

Next came the offer on the company that already had been sold and he was tempted to file a lawsuit over the matter, but then found he could purchase a franchise of the Sylvan Learning Center, which does supplemental education and tutoring.

He purchased the franchise through a business brokerage and eventually got all eight Sylvan offices in Utah accredited by the Utah Board of Education.

In 1992, Marlor got a call from The Geneva Companies to represent them and he accepted. His experience with other companies has prepared him for the "middle market," the buying and selling of firms worth at least $1 million.

His brokerage business grew and he was doing seminars for Sylvan when in October 1994 he woke up in a hotel room disoriented from working too hard. Realizing he had a family and small children, Marlor sold his Sylvan franchise three weeks later and concentrated on his brokerage business.

Over the years, Marlor has sold dozens of businesses with most of his business coming from referrals. He does some direct mail marketing to let companies know Utah Business Consultants is available and he also is listed in the Yellow Pages.

He represents only one of two businesses at one time and believes that confidentiality is very important in his type of work. A person trying to sell his company doesn't want the employees to learn about the sale from rumors and he doesn't want his purchasers to get frightened and stop buying the company's products.

Over the years, Marlor has devised several steps to a successful sale. After an intermediary is selected, a valuation of the company is undertaken. That is followed by transition planning, strategy meetings, writing of a confidential business profile, a confidential business review, negotiating and deal structure, letter of intent, due diligence report, definitive purchase agreement and closing.