It really comes down to the terms of the deal in either case and looking at them in the context of both financial and personal goals.

Going public today is a big endeavor, so you have to be big enough to justify all the additional regulatory requirements under Sarbanes-Oxley.

Buyouts can be a win-win, but look carefully at the cultures of the two organizations; make sure they are compatible and will bring out the best in both groups.

Talk to an attorney, banker and accountant who can help you ask all the right questions in the due-diligence process.

Good luck!