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Business Purchase Agreement Review

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A business purchase agreement is a legally binding contract between a seller and a buyer that outlines the terms and conditions for the sale and purchase of a business. This contract will include details like purchase price, assets included in the sale, closing date, and any conditions that must be met before the sale is finalized.

How Do I Review a Business Purchase Agreement?

Before entering into a business purchase agreement, the contract should be thoroughly reviewed. You should ensure that the terms and conditions align with your interests and protect you from potential risks.

When reviewing a business purchase agreement, follow these steps:

  1. 1. Read the entire contract Thoroughly read the entire agreement including all schedules and attachments so you fully understand the terms and scope of the transaction.
  2. 2. Verify parties and details Ensure that the names and details of the buyer, seller, and business being sold are accurate.
  3. 3. Highlight key terms Make notes about key terms, obligations, deadlines, payment details, and any other important provisions that stand out. You may want to come back to these terms to renegotiate or for further clarification.
  4. 4. Look for ambiguities When a contract is unclear or ambiguous, it can create legal issues and disputes. Any terms that could have differing interpretations should be clearly explained to ensure that both parties understand what the term represents.
  5. 5. Be prepared to negotiate If there are clauses that concern you, negotiate with the other party to address your concerns and reach mutually agreeable terms.
  6. 6. Seek legal advice Purchasing a business is a complex process that includes significant financial and legal implications. You should always consult an attorney before agreeing to the terms in a business purchase agreement.

Reviewing a business purchase agreement is an important step in the process of buying a business. Any mistakes or ambiguities can lead to issues for both parties in the future. To avoid common contract mistakes, always consult a knowledgeable attorney for contract review.

What Should Be Included in a Business Purchase Agreement?

A business purchase agreement will vary depending on the type of business being sold and the terms agreed upon by the parties. Most business purchase agreements should include the following key provisions:

  • Party information The names and contact information for all parties involved in the contract.
  • Business description A detailed description of the business being sold including assets, liabilities, operations, intellectual property, and any other relevant licenses or permits.
  • List of assets A detailed description of the assets included in the sale and whether there will be an accompanying asset purchase agreement (APA) with the business purchase agreement.
  • Purchase price The agreed upon price the buyer will pay the seller.
  • Payment terms How the purchase price will be paid including payment schedule and any conditions related to financing or escrow arrangements.
  • Assets and liabilities The assets and liabilities included in the sale like inventory, equipment, real estate, accounts, and any outstanding debts.
  • Employees Terms regarding whether employees will be retained and transferred to the buyer along with the business.
  • Due diligence and inspection period A set period of time for the buyer to conduct due diligence like inspecting business records and assets.
  • Representations and warranties The representations and warranties made by both parties regarding the accuracy of information, financial statements, ownership of assets, legal compliance, and other material aspects of the business.
  • Closing conditions The conditions that must be met for the sale to be completed, like securing financing or finishing inspections.
  • Closing date and location The date, time, and location of the closing where the final documents and payment will be exchanged.
  • Merger clause A clause that states that the contract represents the entire agreement between the parties so any previous discussions or agreements will not be valid or enforceable.
  • Signatures The contract must be signed by all parties to be legally binding and enforceable.

It's crucial for the parties to negotiate a fair and mutually beneficial business sale contract. Both parties should seek legal advice to ensure that the contract adheres to all laws and will be legally enforceable.

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Who Drafts a Business Purchase Agreement?

The party who initiates the sale of the business is typically responsible for drafting and providing the business purchase agreement for the transaction. Most sellers hire a lawyer to draft this legal document, however, for a simple, more straightforward deal, the seller may choose to draft their own agreement.

After the agreement is drafted, the seller will send the buyer the contract containing the proposed terms, conditions, and details of the transaction. Buyers are encouraged to hire an attorney to review the contract before agreeing to the terms. During the review process, the attorney will go over the contract and may propose revisions, additions, or deletions of certain provisions. The attorney will go over the contract with their client’s interests in mind to ensure that the deal is fair and beneficial.

Once the parties have negotiated all the contract terms and are satisfied with the agreement, the contract will be finalized and incorporate all of the agreed upon terms and conditions. It is essential that the contract includes a merger clause. This clause will state that the contract is the final agreement of the parties and any terms discussed in negotiations and not included in the contract are not enforceable.

What is an APA?

An "APA", short for “asset purchase agreement", is a legal contract that outlines the terms and conditions under which a buyer agrees to purchase specific assets from a seller.

This contract is commonly used in business transactions and can accompany a business purchase agreement. Assets covered in an APA can include tangible assets like equipment, inventory, and real estate, and intangible assets like intellectual property, trademarks, or customer lists.

Should I Hire a Lawyer to Review a Business Purchase Agreement?

Yes. It is highly recommended to hire a lawyer to review a business purchase agreement. This contract is legally binding and can have significant financial and legal implications for both the buyer and the seller. Hiring a lawyer to review the contract can help avoid any issues with the transaction or a legal dispute down the road.

A knowledgeable lawyer can provide contract parties with the following benefits:

  • Legal expertise to identify potential issues and ensure compliance with relevant laws.
  • Assurance that interests are properly represented and protected in the agreement.
  • Help identifying and mitigating potential risks associated with the transaction.
  • Thorough due diligence to verify the accuracy of information provided by the other party and ensure that you are fully informed before finalizing the agreement.
  • An explanation of complex legal language that may be difficult to fully understand.
  • Negotiation to help you achieve more favorable terms.

Before agreeing to the terms in a business purchase agreement, you should always hire an attorney to review the contract to ensure that your interests are protected.

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