Share sales and purchases

Our Grant Saw Corporate lawyers deal with M&A transactions involving businesses of ranging sizes and operating in a variety of sectors. We combine legal expertise with a focus on commercial drivers.


Why (or when) someone would need this service?

When a business run by a company is bought or sold it can be more convenient from a practical and tax point of view, to sell the shares in the company rather than to transfer the business itself.

How does the process work/what are the steps?

Following initial accountancy investigations the buyer’s solicitor begins by sending an extensive request for information. Upon receipt of a reply the buyer’s solicitor drafts a contract. The seller’s solicitor needs to consider carefully the promises about the business which are made in the contract and should seek to disclose relevant information which may affect the buyer’s decision to proceed. On completion the price is paid and the shares are transferred into the name of the buyer.

How long is the legal process when selling or acquiring company shares?

This depends upon the complexity of the business and the amount of information disclosed. The parties should typically allow at least eight weeks for the transaction after the completion of the due diligence process although it may be possible to proceed more quickly.

Is it expensive? How do the costs work?

The costs will be quoted based either on the value of the transaction or (in smaller transactions) on the basis of the expected time that the matter will take. For a purchaser the risks associated with a share purchase are higher than those associated with the acquisition of an unincorporated business and so costs for a share purchase are higher than those for a similar acquisition of an unincorporated business.

What are the things people should consider before calling?

We would like clients to think particularly about what will happen on completion to the existing cash or debts of the business and as to how this will be reflected in the purchase price.

Why are Grant Saw the best people for the job?

We have many years experience in dealing with share sales and purchases and we believe that we can undertake these for clients more cost effectively than by engaging a larger firm in the City of London. Few local firms have the capacity to undertake this kind of work.

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Share sales and purchases tips

For sellers, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, so it is usually better to negotiate a slightly higher price paid on completion rather than a lower figure on completion and a further sum based upon the future performance of the company under new ownership. For buyers the reverse applies.

Share sales and purchases myth busting

What myths are there are around this area?

That if things go wrong the seller will always have to compensate the buyer. This only applies if careful warranties and provisions have been inserted into the contract.

Meet the Share sales and purchases team