Business sales and acquisitions

Why (or when) someone would need this service?

Sometimes it is as simple as a shop keeper transferring his lease and the benefit of his retail business at the same time. On other occasions there is a more complex business requiring for example full due diligence and in depth analysis of the assets and liabilities being transferred.

How does the process work/what are the steps?

We would need to know how well the buyer knows and understands the business he/she is acquiring. Typically when acting for a buyer we would wish to raise enquiries about the business and have the seller make contractual promises about the replies given. The object is for the buyer to know exactly what he is purchasing (before he buys) so he can assess whether he wishes to proceed, and whether he wishes to do so at the price originally agreed.

How long is the legal process when selling or acquiring business'?

This depends upon the complexity of the business but it is usually possible within eight weeks. It is the gathering of information about the business which usually takes most time.

Is it expensive? How do the costs work?

We would ordinarily give an indication of our costs based on an hourly charging rate and the number of hours we expect the matter to take. In simple transactions it may be possible for us to agree a fixed fee.

What are the things people should consider before calling?

We would like the name of the other party and their solicitor. Sellers should be clear about what liabilities they want the buyer to take over. Buyers should be clear about where the true benefit of what they are buying lies, for example is it a particular contract or a particular customer which the seller has which is what brings value to the transaction.

Why are Grant Saw the best people for the job?

We have a dedicated Commercial Team able to raise enquiries and advise on the relevant aspects of the matter. Unlike other local firms we also have a dedicated Employment Team who can advise on obligations relating to the transfer of employees.

Business sales and acquisitions tips

  • Wherever possible the buyer should spend some time working in or observing the seller’s business prior to the transaction proceeding
  • A buyer should also consider instructing an accountant at an early stage to review the seller’s accounts

Business sales and acquisitions myth busting

What myths are there are around this area?

That a seller will automatically pass on all obligations under existing contracts of the business to the buyer. This is not usually the case and requires careful drafting of the documentation.