There is a short answer and a long answer to the question of “How do I tell if this deal is fair”?
The short answer: A deal is fair when the seller thinks that they left a few dollars on the table and when the buyer thinks that they paid just a few dollars too much.
The longer answer: A deal is fair when it is simultaneously a stretch and a win for both parties. Whether in mergers and acquisitions, licensing, joint ventures or other partnerships, both parties need to be incentivized and feel they are giving and receiving. Then the deal is a fair one and a fair deal often makes for a good deal. If the deal is lopsided, it either won’t get signed, will create some bad blood (which always comes back to bite you in the butt down the line) or will have one side not caring enough to do their part to make it work.
If a deal seems to good to be true, it probably is and won’t be successful; it will fall apart somewhere. Get to that place that is just past the point of perfection for both sides to give it the best chances of succeeding.