There is probably more to think about than you realise when considering the purchase and sale of a business. Are you aware of the common deal breakers that can stop a transaction in its tracks? If not, you’re certainly not alone, as many businesses are unaware of such issues.
The good news is most problems can be easily avoided if quality, professional legal advice is taken at the outset, especially when that advice comes from specialist solicitors who deal with buying and selling businesses day in and day out and have done for many years.
Here at Pickering & Butters, we have a team of specialist lawyers ready to advise and guide you from start to finish, ensuring that your sale or purchase goes to plan. We always work in your best interests, and the advice we provide goes right across the board so that you receive a fully comprehensive service.
Our business sale & purchase solicitors can advise on every aspect of buying and selling a business, including:
- Employment issues
- Pension issues
- Due diligence processes
- Terms of sale
- Transferal of contracts and business leases
- Tax issues
- Solvency matters
- Intellectual property
- Third party agreements
Get expert help from our business sale and purchase solicitors
If you’re embarking on a sale or purchase, the right advice from the right people can make all the difference, so get in touch with our business sale & purchase solicitors at Pickering & Butters without delay to discuss your situation.
Our expertise with buying and selling businesses
Purchasing a company
Preparing to buy a business can be a complex process, and certainly one that is best executed with the support of legal experts. Our business sale & purchase solicitors for buying a business have supported a huge range of clients throughout the process.
We can assist you with all of the essential tasks, including obtaining a valuation for the company and conducting due diligence processes. Our lawyers can provide advice on employment contracts, including TUPE or redundancies. Our business sale solicitors can support you in reviewing the terms of sale and transferring the contracts and business leases.
Taking over a business can be a lengthy process. However, our efficient lawyers have the expertise to move clients through it as swiftly as possible, whilst attending to your unique needs and concerns.
Selling a company
Proceeding to sell a company is a huge step and you are likely to have various questions and concerns. We can help you to value your business accurately, negotiate the appropriate terms of sale, and draft the Heads of Terms.
Preparing for the due diligence process is key to a successful sale, without setbacks, and our solicitors can support you in doing so. Our buying or selling business lawyers can support you in considering tax implications, creating confidentiality agreements, and communicating the sale to your employees.
Frequently asked questions about buying and selling a business
How much will it cost to buy or sell a business?
Each case is different, so it is difficult to provide an exact fee. Once we’ve completed our initial consultation, we’ll provide an estimate. As your sale or purchase progresses, you’ll receive updates, so that you know what to expect at every stage. Some deals can be more complicated than others, but you’ll never be kept in the dark with regard to progress and fees.
How long does it take to sell a business?
The average business sale takes between 6 and 8 weeks. However, this is only a guide, and more complicated transactions could exceed this timeframe. If you’re considering selling your company, it’s advisable to contact business sale solicitors without delay. Receiving early legal advice and support is the best way to streamline the transaction, saving both time and money.
What is an asset sale of a company?
An asset sale of a company means that the buyer proceeds to purchase a seller’s assets and business, without purchasing the company itself. For instance, a larger corporation might opt to only purchase the business operations, individual shares, goodwill, or contracts.
Asset sale offers a flexible approach for buyers, meaning that they can choose to purchase certain assets, including the company as a whole.
What is a share sale of a company?
A share sale means that the buyer is purchasing the entire company, including its liabilities and trading history. With this option, it is not possible to sell or buy specific elements of a company, as with an asset sale.
It is incredibly important that thorough due diligence is performed when approaching this type of sale or purchase.
What is a sale and purchase agreement?
A sale and purchase agreement refers to a legal contract, outlining a transaction between the seller and the buyer. The legal document defines the terms and conditions and is drawn up once the buyer and seller negotiations have commenced.
How are a share sale and an asset sale different?
An asset sale means that a buyer purchases the assets of a company. For example, this might include its trading name, goodwill, equipment, or lease of premises. A share sale means the buyer is buying the shares from a limited company. Naturally, the two have different tax liabilities and responsibilities, which is why seeking expert legal advice is paramount before proceeding.
What does the due diligence process involve?
Due diligence refers to a pre-transaction process. The buyer requests detailed information about the business they are looking to buy. The idea is that the buyer receives a transparent picture of the business, including:
- Financial information such as financial performance and any debts or liabilities
- Details on the business’s legal structure, employment contracts, tax, compliance and health and safety
- The business operations, including IT systems and information on the supply chain
Why do I need a solicitor for a business sale or purchase?
Whilst it is not mandatory to have a solicitor during a business sale or purchase, it is highly recommended. This is due to the many legal pitfalls that can occur during a transaction like this. Therefore, having a solicitor who specialises in navigating the legal complexities of business transactions, ensuring that contracts, agreements, due diligence, and regulatory requirements are met will provide a much higher likelihood of protecting your interests.
What documents are typically involved in a business sale or purchase?
There are many documents involved in a business sale or purchase, including sales agreements, asset or share purchase agreements, confidentiality agreements, employee contracts, financial statements, licenses, leases, and more. Our business sale and purchase solicitors are experts in handling this kind of documentation and will make sure that all paperwork required is completed in a timely and efficient manner.
What potential risks should I be aware of during a business transaction?
Potential risks that individuals should be aware of during the process of buying and selling a business can include the following:
- Undisclosed liabilities
- Contractual disputes
- Intellectual property issues
- Regulatory non-compliance
- Changes in business value post-purchase.
Having the guidance of our experienced business and sale purchase solicitor is beneficial in this regard, as they will be able to identify and mitigate these risks.
Why choose Pickering and Butters for business sale and purchase law?
Our legal team at Pickering and Butters have years of expertise in this area of the law and providing legal advice for buying and selling a business. We are able to offer transparent and pragmatic guidance at every stage of the procedure. Our experts will do all that we can to ensure that your transaction runs smoothly and swiftly, while protecting your commercial interests.
We appreciate that selling a company, or purchasing one can feel like a daunting process, and we are dedicated to easing your concerns, and helping you to achieve your goals. Our legal team will always be easily contactable, always updating you on your progress.
We’ve supported clients to purchase or sell small companies and large. Rest assured, when you work with us, you’ve got experts on the side. We’ll take the time to listen to your requirements carefully, meaning that we can offer bespoke support.
Solicitor’s fees for purchase and sale legal support
At Pickering and Butters, we offer a first-class legal service that ensures real value for our clients, at reasonable prices.
For certain matters, we can operate on a fixed fee basis, making sure that the costs involved are completely clear. However, the purchase and sale of businesses can be complex and lengthy, meaning that most clients will be more suited to ongoing support, at a clear hourly rate.
Our solicitors will offer an hourly rate depending on the level of expertise required and will be happy to discuss this with you after assessing your needs.
Our purchase and sale lawyers can discuss the likely costs involved in servicing your requirements over the phone, by email or through videoconferencing.