Buying or Selling a Business? What is the Attorney’s Role?
Whether you are buying or selling a business, your legal counsel can make or break the deal.
If you choose to engage advisors, such as an attorney, to assist you in the sale or purchase of a business, it is important that they be deal friendly and transaction experienced. You must articulate your objectives and seriousness in getting the transaction completed. In many instances, the sale of a business fails to close because the attorney for one side makes too many demands of the other side. Certainly, you want your attorney to protect your interests, but not to the point where the demands are so strenuous that the other party walks away from the deal.
The buyer, seller, and their advisors involved in the transaction must have a mutual understanding of the price and terms of the deal…….who is getting what and for how much……or the sale may be doomed before it starts. Business brokers can refer you to legal professionals if you don’t already have one that is experienced in legal issues related to business transfer transactions.
To help prevent wrecked deals, good communication between all of the parties involved is a priority. Unless they are told, outside advisors may not realize how much the buyer and the seller want to consummate the sale. The attorney needs to know from the client that this is an earnestly desired transaction and that, unless something completely unanticipated is discovered, his or her job is to pull the deal together.
If there is no one monitoring the details and leading the progress of the transaction, the ball can be dropped somewhere along the way. The use of a professional business broker can alleviate communication problems and keep the ball rolling. The broker’s role at this point in a business transfer transaction is to act as the intermediary. The business broker–having been through the process many times, much more often than any of the attorneys or other advisors involved–knows the pitfalls. They keep the deal on track and act as the captain that keeps the team working together towards the common goal…….the successful consummation of the sale. As long as all advisors involved are operating on the same wave length as their respective clients — the buyer and the seller — the odds are good that the deal will happen.