Buying or selling a business? Get your lawyer involved early

Gregory J. Greiner, founder of GBC Law, has been involved in numerous corporate transactions, including buying and selling businesses, in his more than 40 years of practice.

"Often we are invited late to the transaction," he says. "Determining the structure of a new company, investigating any legal liens or corporate debts, or making sure a sale goes smoothly all takes time. We always recommend that clients contact us early in the negotiation stage."

Cynthia Lam, a commercial and corporate lawyer at GBC Law, agrees.

"Whenever there is a purchase or sale of a business," she says "the price is commonly the key consideration for the parties involved. However, the price of the transaction is only one of many aspects that need to be considered."

One important consideration is whether you are buying the assets or the shares of a business. Purchasing the shares of a company means that all of the company’s assets, liabilities and obligations are being acquired. This might include some items that the prospective buyer may not even be aware of. Alerted early to the negotiations, GBC Law can conduct proper due diligence to ensure that the client is not getting more (or less) than they anticipate.

"In addition," continues Cynthia, "we will want to know how the client will be financing the purchase. There are a lot of intricacies involved with the buying and selling of a business that many clients do not commonly put their minds to."

Some issues to be considered may include whether the buyer wishes to keep the employees of the business, tax implications, and the assumption of liabilities or debt.

"At GBC Law," Cynthia says, "we take the time to understand our clients' business needs to determine and negotiate the outcomes that they want."

Other areas of corporate and commercial law that Greg, Cynthia and their colleagues at GBC Law can offer help with include contracts, partnership and shareholder agreements, and legal advice on the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating your own business.


For more information on GBC Law call 604-437-0461, visit their website, send them an email, or visit their offices at 485-6400 Roberts Street, Burnaby. You will also find GBC Law on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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