Steps to Buying and Selling a Business
Buying a business is much more complicated than simply handing over a sum of money and receiving a business in return. On the flip-side, a seller of a business must do a lot more than just receive a sum of money in exchange for a business. Buying or selling a business involves complex laws and many moving parts. Additionally, there is more than one way to buy or sell a business. The best method to use will depend on the business being sold and the needs of the parties involved.
Selling a business is not like other consumer transactions, in which cash or credit is exchanged for a good or service. Instead, there are different methods used, with the two most common being asset sales and stock sales.
An asset sale is one in which the buyer purchases the seller’s assets. The buyer is only assuming responsibility for the liabilities that it chooses. If the buyer does not assume all of the seller’s liabilities, then the seller remains liable for them. If the business has shareholders, the seller will usually distribute the proceeds of the sale to the shareholders of the business through dividends or distributions. Shareholders are then liable for the taxes on the dividend they receive. The party selling the business remains liable for taxes on the asset sales, as well. There are some exceptions to these tax obligations in the event the business is a pass through entity, but generally, each party remains responsible for the tax implications on their income. Buyers often prefer this method of business sales.
Another method often used in the sale of a business is the selling of stock. In a stock sale exchange, the buyer is purchasing the outstanding stock of the business. Outstanding stock includes the shares of stock that are currently held by the shareholders, the shares that are held by instructional investors, and shares owned by the officers of the company. Like an asset sale, the proceeds of the stock sale are distributed through dividends or other distributions. Often times, a stock sale is preferred by seller. This is because it acts as a “clean break” for the seller’s shareholders.
Contact an Experienced Business Attorney Today
Whether you are considering buying or selling your business via asset sale, stock sale, or another method, an experienced attorney can be invaluable to the transaction. There are many legal challenges that can arise in the buying or selling of a business. Avoid adding extra stress to the situation and hire an attorney at the outset to handle unexpected issues as they arise. The experienced attorney at the Law Office of Kris Mukherji is here to help you from the first step in a transaction through its finalization. Contact us today for a consultation.