Selling to Management was the only option to maximise price, for this retiring owner.
The difficulty was the lack of funding/house equity of the Buyer.
Eventually a deal was struck involving CrowdFunding (loan repayment guaranteed by the retiring owner for 2 years) for the down payment.
To protect his position, the existing owner retained his shares until his CrowdFunding guarantee was released, & further payments for the business had been received.
Not ideal BUT the only realistic exit option.