What contracts and agreements do I need to review or create during the acquisition process?


The acquisition of a business is a multi-faceted endeavour, where understanding and navigating a web of contracts and agreements is paramount. At the heart of the acquisition process lies the Purchase Agreement. This all-encompassing contract outlines the terms and conditions of the sale, from the purchase price to the assets and liabilities to be transferred. It is the lynchpin of the transaction and warrants thorough review. Employee and customer relationships are the lifeblood of any business. Consequently, review and, in the event of an asset sale, amend Employment Contracts to retain key staff, and to ensure you are aware of the existing contracts. If you are purchasing the shares of a business, you will want to review the employment contracts as you will inherit the employees on the same terms. Analyze Customer Contracts to ensure they are transferrable, and address any clauses related to change of control. Likewise, scrutinize Supplier Contracts, assess their transferability, and gauge the favorability of their terms. Lease Agreements for the business premises should be reviewed, and you should secure assurance that they can be assigned to the new owner. Intellectual property is another critical facet, and if applicable, inspect related agreements to ensure a seamless transition of ownership. For franchises, study the Franchise Agreement thoroughly and secure approval from the franchisor for the change in ownership. Do not forget to examine any outstanding Loan Agreements, ensure you understand their terms, and determine your responsibility for repayment. Furthermore, look into existing insurance policies to assess coverage and determine the need for additional coverage, such as liability insurance.

The art of crafting a successful business acquisition also involves careful consideration of Warranties and Representations from the seller, employment and severance agreements for affected employees, Non-Competition and Non-Disclosure Agreements to safeguard sensitive information, and if applicable, agreements related to environmental and regulatory compliance. In this intricate dance of contracts and agreements, seeking guidance from legal counsel is strongly advised. The exact array of agreements may vary depending on the nature of the business, industry, and unique circumstances of the acquisition, so meticulous attention to detail is the name of the game when you choose to step into the world of business acquisition, and retaining legal and accounting professionals can ensure you are protecting your interests.