Selling Your Business: Picking the Right Legal Team

Do you know how you will choose your legal team when it comes to selling your business?

If you haven’t had to deal with lawyers too often over the course of the life of your business you may well assume that there is nothing much to distinguish one firm of solicitors from another and that any firm of solicitors should be able to handle the sale on your behalf.   In fact, choosing the wrong firm of solicitors can, at worst, jeopardise the chances of your transaction closing or it could lead to difficult negotiations, delays and your assuming unnecessary levels of risk.The legal work associated with sales of shares and business assets is highly specialist.  Our recommendation would always be that you should start by choosing a firm of solicitors who can demonstrate to you that they have a track record of successful deals behind them.  The chances are that a buyer of a reasonably substantial business is going to appoint its own specialist team of advisers and it will soon become very apparent if your own advice is not of the same quality or that your team is unable to deliver their services within the same timescales as the other side.  Your lawyers should therefore be able to resource the provision to you of legal advice (most likely across a number of different specialist areas in order to get the deal done) without keeping you and your buyer waiting and, if necessary, outside of normal working hours so that you can carry on running your business to the fullest extent.

By way of insight from the other side, we were involved in a transaction that very nearly collapsed a couple of years ago principally because the vendors had chosen to retain the services of a small non-specialist firm of solicitors who simply did not have the resources to cope with the various competing demands of a fast-moving and sophisticated acquirer – as our client in that case was.  Not only was the vendors’ solicitor trying to deal with various due diligence issues but he was also required to review, report on and involve himself in the negotiation of a detailed sale and purchase agreement and, at the same time, to manage his clients’ disclosure process – an almost impossible task and a source of great frustration on our side.  At one point we even had to lend secretarial support to the vendors so that they could get documents processed late at night when their solicitor’s offices were closed!

Happily, we were able to push the deal through (notwithstanding) and the acquisition has been a success for both parties – it was, however, definitely a close shave for the vendors and would have been a great shame for them to have lost the deal simply because they chose the wrong firm of advisers.

Boyes Turner has one of the largest teams of Corporate lawyers in the Thames Valley.  Our dedicated team has vast experience in sales and acquisitions of businesses in most sectors – both nationally and internationally, for businesses large and small and for sums ranging from anything to hundreds of millions of pounds.  All of our deal teams are led by partners who are among the most highly rated lawyers in the country and we pride ourselves on being both proactive and accessible to our clients.  While we look to deliver City levels of expertise and service we do it in a way which our clients tell us they enjoy and at rates that you could not expect to find in the City.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of selling your business then please do not hesitate to contact us on rrice@boyesturner.com

Robert Rice
Partner
Boyes Turner

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