Share Purchase Agreement Solicitors
We're a Legal 500 ranked law firm which knows how to focus on the key issues at proportionate cost. When it comes to share purchases, we’ve got vast experience advising businesses of all sizes and types.
Our fees are competitive whether it’s drafting, reviewing or advising on the underlying transaction.
A share purchase agreement is the key document in a transaction where either all shares in a company are sold or where investors buy some of the shares (in this situation the contract may also be called an investor agreement and may also require an updated or new shareholders agreement and/or company articles of association)
Before the share sale/purchase agreement is signed there will typically be a number of important stages, all of which typically involve negotiation, legal fees, potential pitfalls and take time. The stages will generally be :-
- Heads of terms/terms sheet
- Due diligence
- Corporate approvals for the sale of shares from other shareholders
Key clauses in a share purchase agreement
Each transaction is different. Negotiation is a key aspect which often continues throughout the transaction, even after main terms have been agreed. This is an area where experienced lawyers can make a huge difference . The final agreement is the last stage in a process where pre-contract enquiries and due diligence are key.
Some of the key issues and clauses to consider where the transaction is for the puchase of all the shares in a privately owned company include :-
- Conditions Precedent – doesn’t apply in all situations but where applicable, means the transaction, to complete, is conditional on things being in place such as tax clearance or regulatory approval.
- Price and payment – may be very straightforward but not always. It is quite common for share sale transactions to involve different forms of consideration, such as loan notes and/or payment may be deferred and based on an earn out.
- Warranties – the seller will generally try to water down or limit warranties which are included in almost all share purchase contracts. Warranties are statements of fact by the seller, which if proven to be incorrect, give the buyer legal rights and remedies. A typical warranty might apply to the accounts being accurate or stating that the seller is unaware of any matter which could lead to a legal dispute.
- Indemnities – cover specific scenarios where if the scenario occurs the seller will reimburse the buyer fully, such as if a legal dispute arises involving the company post completion relating to a situation which occurred pre-completion. Indeminities provide strong legal protection for a buyer.
- Payment terms – it is not unusual for part of an agreed purchase price to be deferred, there may be an Earn Out mechanism included.
- Restrictive covenants – often will require that for a set period of time the seller will remain working in the business and may not work for a competitor or set up a competitive business.
- Tax issues – often referred to as a tax indemnity or deed, this gives the purchaser protection against tax liabilities that weren’t discovered during due diligence.
- Disclosure letter – whereby the seller will disclose facts which were not dealt with in due diligence and which the seller does not want to be caught out with in the warranties.
- Change control – do existing contracts with customers have Change Control provisions which may entitle the customers to cancel if the business changes owners?
- Completion and post completion – money transfer and post-completion formalities including director approval, stock transfers and share certificates.
How we can help
Our lawyers advise businesses of all sizes and types. Experience means we focus quickly on the issues and strike the right balance between proportionate legal fees, speed and getting the right deal and protections in place for clients.
Get in touch to discuss how our specialist, experienced solicitors can help with your share purchase agreement. Our fees are competitive whether it’s drafting, reviewing or advising on the underlying transaction.
Catherine is an extremely experienced solicitor, having been qualified since 2000, and deals with all types of corporate and commercial matters and advice and also tax law.
Catherine is well known for turning complex problems into solutions, priding herself on always finding a way. In her spare time she runs Gannons!