This article explores the topic of entrepreneurial exit by bringing together two perspectives and units of analysis: the business owner and the firm. We use standard binomial and multinomial logistic specifications to investigate i) the factors influencing individuals’ selection out of business ownership; ii) the modes of that exit, i.e. sell-off or firm discontinuance and iii) the relation between exit and firm performance. A typology is put forward which discriminates between four types of entrepreneurial exit: ‘entrepreneurial failure’; ‘divestment choice’; ‘managerial turnover’ and ‘planned exit strategy’. Results highlight different owner human-capital, demographic traits and firm-level characteristics between sell-offs and closures. Evidence shows that some businesses can be considered successful at closure, thus telling apart the concepts of failure and exit.