Stock Purchase Agreement Review

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What Is a Stock Purchase Agreement Review?

A stock purchase agreement (SPA) is a legally binding contract that details the terms and conditions of the sale of a company’s stock and how it transfers ownership of said stock to a buyer.

When this document is reviewed, it should confirm that the shareholders and companies involved in the agreement are defined and that the terms and conditions of the sale are outlined. The review should also ensure that the relationship between the buyers and sellers involved in the exchange is defined.

A stock purchase agreement review can also examine the following:

  • Any adjustments to the price that may be required to make the purchase fair, i.e., payroll, taxes, utilities, and an escrow holdback
  • Any adjustments to the purchase price due to changes in the value of the stock
  • Pre-closing conditions, such as the fulfillment of pre-closing covenants and the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals
  • The recitals defining the intentions of the contract, as any statements in the recitals section that contain inaccurate or misleading information will be invalid, and the party may be liable for damages

There are several reasons to conduct a stock purchase agreement review. These include:

  • Ensuring that the agreement is a legally binding contract
  • Making sure that it addresses the issues you're concerned with
  • Helping you find out what to look for in a stock purchase agreement

Here is an article about the stock purchase agreement review.

How Do I Review a Stock Purchase Agreement?

Reviewing a stock and asset purchase agreement is not always as simple as it sounds. Even if you know what to look for, you could have various questions as you begin to move through the documents.

To review a stock purchase option agreement, you must determine whether it is legally binding. A good stock purchase agreement is a legally binding contract that describes the terms under which the company will sell its shares to the buyer. It is important to note that there are a variety of terms and conditions in this document, and legal counsel should be consulted when necessary.

The stock purchase agreement lays out the transaction details, including:

  • The price
  • The number of shares
  • Any adjustments

While reviewing the agreement, take note of any differences from the letter of intent. Sometimes, the buyer may want to negotiate an adjustment in the purchase price, which should be negotiated pre-closing.

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What Should I Look for in a Stock Purchase Agreement?

Knowing precisely what the agreement contains is essential when looking at a stock purchase option agreement. Therefore, it's important to understand the terminology involved, as well as the specific terms of the agreement.

The transfer agreement will explain the transfer of stock, as well as the terms of the transaction. It will also spell out any warranties that the seller gives. In addition, the representations and warranties section may include information about any dispute resolution measures that may be included in the stock purchase agreement.

The covenants section will describe activities from which the parties must refrain during the time between signing and closing. This section can be lengthy, describing various actions the parties must undertake and those they should avoid.

The stock purchase agreement is the primary transaction document in a securities deal. It controls risk and ensures the price is paid. It provides a road map for the holding period. It's a crucial piece of legal documentation that can help you make wise decisions.

As with any investment, price and risk are the two most important variables. A stock purchase agreement allows you to control risk through price and protect yourself from misrepresentation.

Here is an article about what to look for in a stock purchase agreement.

Is a Stock Purchase Agreement Legally Binding?

Yes, a stock purchase agreement is a legally-binding contract that defines the relationship between a buyer and seller. These contracts govern the sale and purchase of company shares.

A stock purchase agreement is a standard tool used by small businesses to secure financing and retain ownership. These agreements allow the business owner to control the business while giving them the authority to sell company stock. However, if this document is poorly worded, it could have unintended legal consequences.

Here is an article overview of the legality of stock purchase agreements.

What Happens to Employees in a Stock Purchase Agreement?

While employee benefits may continue after closing a sale and purchase, accrued liabilities may not. These liabilities may need to be paid out to the target employees if the sale of the company leads to a termination of employment.

However, the parties can agree to transfer the liabilities to the buyer in the purchase agreement. This means that the parties must discuss the accounting for these accrued liabilities.

Assuming the buyer takes over the role of the seller, the sale of assets may include an agreement detailing the rights and obligations of both parties' employees after the sale.

For example, suppose the buyer is acquiring a company with a group health plan. In that case, the sale of that plan may result in an obligation to reinstate the leaver. The buyer may also be required to reassign all employees who were on FMLA leave. Therefore, both parties need to negotiate these agreements.

Before closing, the buyer and seller must decide which employees to offer employment to and whether to assume any existing employment agreements. Generally, the buyer will have to offer new employment to the employees whose employment is still in effect. In addition, the buyer may have to consider assuming a plan's current obligations and liabilities.

Here is an article discussing why your stock purchase agreement is critical to employee care.

Stock Purchase Agreement vs. Asset Purchase Agreement

A stock purchase agreement involves purchasing the entire company, including liabilities and assets. In contrast, an asset purchase agreement delineates only specific assets and liabilities.

Asset Purchase Agreement Benefits

Many buyers prefer an asset purchase agreement because the tax advantages are more favorable since the purchasing company has the option of depreciating or amortizing them. In addition, when considering liabilities, an asset purchase would be more flexible for buyers.

The downside is that asset purchase agreements are much more complex than simple stock purchase agreements. For example, a contract, an employee stock purchase plan, a restricted stock plan, and titling needs to be reviewed for potential impact.

Stock Purchase Agreement Benefits

The most significant selling point for the stock purchase agreement with buyers is its simplicity. These arrangements are usually straightforward, with little complexities or residual impact. In addition, there is no need to review contracts, titling, or employment agreements.

The downside is that stock purchase agreements are simple but less flexible for the buyer. For example, the buyer must assume all liabilities, so those cannot be cherry-picked. The buyer also loses much of the tax benefits they could have claimed under an asset purchase.

Here is an article outlining the benefits and challenges associated with asset vs. stock purchases.

Get Help with a Stock Purchase Agreement Review

Although stock purchase agreements are simple transactions, several legal issues are involved. If you or someone you know needs guidance on an existing stock purchase agreement, or if you would like assistance in drafting one, an attorney can help make the process smoother.

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