In the M&A market, target companies are generally sold through either a negotiated sale or an auction process. In a negotiated sale, a seller will engage directly with one or two potential buyers (or sometimes more) in a process that generally gives buyers a significant degree of leverage with respect to price, deal terms and the timetable the deal proceeds along. Often, the potential buyer will also be given an exclusivity period within which to complete the transaction. Although the foregoing features may tip the negotiating balance in a buyer's favor, negotiated sales do offer sellers the advantages of greater confidentiality, which means that the details surrounding failed deals can more easily be kept private, and the absence of rigid deadlines may minimize disruptions to the normal day-to-day operations of the target caused by the sale process. It is generally believed, however, that negotiated sales do not yield the highest price paid by buyers.