What Does Under the Tent Mean?
An under the tent deal is usually one that is not publicly disclosed and where only one or a select few buyers know about it. The seller may be a company where a management buyout is being contemplated and management has approached the buyer (usually a private equity firm) to discuss investment alternatives. An under the tent deal is seldom (if ever) represented by an M&A advisor since the business is essentially quietly or secretly for sale.
Divestopedia Explains Under the Tent
Under the tent deals seldom maximize the purchase price for the seller. This is because they do not go for sale in a wide or controlled auction, but, rather, are presented to financial buyers in a captive or proprietary fashion. They are more likely to occur when insiders of the company look to purchase it with assistance from a financial buyer. In this case, key employees or the management team itself may gather specific information about the company for the buyer(s), effectively putting them "under the target company's tent."