Mergers & Acquisitions

Business Purchase and Sale: Considering Employees

One of the most important parts of a business is the people doing the day-to-day work. When looking into purchasing a business, it’s important to identify and understand the needs and rights of key employees, review existing employment agreements, and consider any employment related successor liability issues that may come up as part of the transaction. We’re continuing our series on the Purchase and Sale of a Business by highlighting important employee related considerations when purchasing a business.

Identifying (and Locking Up) Key Employees

Does the business you’re purchasing rely heavily on a few key employees? Especially for service-based businesses that rely heavily on relationships, these key employees can be one of the most valuable assets for the business. Making sure you...

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Five Key Securities Issues in Due Diligence of M&A Deals

In business acquisitions, and especially in business acquisitions structured as stock purchases, there are a number of securities issues you’ll want to be on the lookout for. For the purposes of this post, you can think of a security as the stock or other equity interest in a company like an option or warrant. (You can check out this post for a more detailed discussion of what a security is.) Below I’ve listed 5 key securities-related due diligence issues for you to consider when purchasing a business.

We’ll start with the two key issues that are important for acquisitions of both stock and assets; we’ll finish with three key issues that primarily affect stock acquisitions:

Issues for acquisitions of either stock or assets

Two issues are of...

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Archive Series | Due Diligence in the Purchase and Sale of a Business

If you are considering buying or selling a business, it is helpful to understand the due diligence process. This series from our archives provides a basic overview of the legal issues you should consider (that is, the due diligence you should consider doing) when buying or selling your next business:

An Introduction to Due Diligence Legal Issues Financial Issues Operational Issues Intellectual Property Material Contracts and Information Miscellaneous Issues

Photo: shrinkin’violet | Flickr

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Purchase and Sale of Business: Drafting the Business Purchase and Sale Agreement

Once you’ve nailed down the terms of the acquisition (usually in a letter of intent), it is time to begin putting the terms into a formal agreement usually referred to as a business “purchase and sale agreement.” This agreement will spell out the seller’s and buyer’s rights and responsibilities with respect to the transaction. We’re continuing our series on the Purchase and Sale of a Business by highlighting some of the major considerations when putting together the business purchase and sale agreement for your acquisition.

Structure of the Sale: What assets and liabilities are included?

As we discussed in a prior post in this Purchase and Sale of a Business series, you’ll need to sort out whether the sale will be an...

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Purchase and Sale of a Business: Structuring the Transaction

We continue our series on the purchase and sale of a business by exploring the structure of the transaction. These transactions generally fall under one of two categories, an asset sale or a stock sale. Today’s post highlights some of the key features and differences between the two structures.

The Asset Sale An asset sale is the purchase of the individual assets and liabilities of the business. In an asset sale, the seller will retain possession of the legal entity, e.g. ABC Corporation, and the buyer purchases the individual assets of the company, including equipment, inventory, fixtures, licenses, goodwill, trade names, etc. Typically the seller will retain the company cash, and the seller often remains responsible for any long-term debt obligations.

Buyers tend...

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Due Diligence | Part 7 | Miscellaneous Issues

We’ve finally arrived at the last post in our due diligence section of our series on the purchase and sale of a business. In today’s post we explore some of the miscellaneous issues you should be aware of during due diligence.

Real Property Issues We’ve mentioned in previous posts that you should review all “material” contracts, which would include all leases, deeds, or other real property-related contracts. However, there are other, lesser known, real property issues that are often overlooked during due diligence. One of these “other” issues is easements and other restrictions on your ability to use the real property as you’d like.

An easement is a right of use over the property of another. For example, you may be purchasing a...

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Due Diligence | Part 6 | Material Contracts and Information

We continue our series on due diligence and our series on the purchase and sale of a business by tackling—yes, this word was chosen in part because of last night’s pre-season opener for our Seahawks—the next phase of due diligence: material contracts. So far we have covered the financial, legal, and operational issues associated with the due diligence process. In today’s post, we’re exploring one of the more time-consuming aspects of due diligence, reviewing every material contract of  the target company.

Who, What, When, Where (and How?) As we have been discussing throughout this series, it’s incredibly important to know the business you are acquiring in and out. This includes examining every contract the company has entered into and is bound by at...

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Due Diligence | Part 5 | Intellectual Property Issues

In today’s post we’re continuing our series on due diligence and our series on the purchase and sale of a business. So far we have covered the financial, legal, and operational issues associated with the due diligence process, and today we’re going to explore the intellectual property issues associated with due diligence. For many businesses, the most expensive asset the company owns is its intellectual property, which makes understanding any IP-related issues increasingly important.

Registered Trademark Rights One important issue to explore when purchasing a business is whether that business has any federally registered trademarks. By registering a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the USPTO) you receive broader protection for your trademarks and an enhanced ability to protect your...

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Due Diligence | Part 4 | Operational Issues

In today’s post we continue exploring the depths of the due diligence phase of purchasing a business. We’ve already discussed the financial issues and the legal issues, and today we’ll look at the operational issues surrounding due diligence. We’ve highlighted four important questions to answer regarding operational issues of a business you’re looking to purchase.

What products or services does the company offer? It may seem like a no-brainer to most, but it is important to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the products or services of the company you’re purchasing. In many cases, the purchaser is well aware of the products or services because it is the products or services of the company that attracted the purchaser to the deal. The better...

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Due Diligence | Part 3 | Financial Issues

In last week’s post we discussed the legal issues surrounding due diligence. This week we continue our Purchase and Sale of a Business series and due diligence series by discussing some essential financial issues to consider during the due diligence phase of purchasing a business.

Avoid a Headache; Know the Financials In and Out The last thing you want to do is purchase a company with disorganized books and a lack of financial records. Not only will you spend time and money sorting out the books and reconciling the financial records, you’ll also likely inherit “surprise debt” or other financial liabilities. By taking the time to review the company’s books and learn more about its financial condition, you’ll avoid a headache or two...

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