Half of acquisition deals close. The other half don’t. I recently represented a client in a transaction in which the deal died. She offered to share lessons learned from an unsuccessful acquisition. In this article, she has given us four lessons learned from the ultimately unsuccessful negotiations. These are the four major lessons she wanted to share with other potential purchasers of small businesses: lesson 1: seek legal guidance early on; lesson 2: be specific about due diligence requests; lesson 3: early misalignment is a sign of the future to come; and lesson 4: better understand certifications for government contractors.
You have now consulted with your small business attorney and to your surprise the attorney has advised you as a small business owner that a selling LLC interests may be subject to securities laws.
Selling a piece of your limited liability company, even if it is a small business, may put you on the radar of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It doesn’t mean that you have to go public. “Going public” for those not in the know basically means that you have to register the securities with the SEC. Think big bucks for your securities lawyers and investment bankers. If you have a security, then you either have to register with the SEC or you must meet an exemption. If you fall within an exemption to the securities laws, you do not need to register the securities. Just to hammer home the point, the SEC succinctly states: If a small business is offering and selling securities, even if to just one person, the offer and sale of the securities must either be registered with the SEC or conducted in accordance with one of the many registration exemptions under the Securities Act. As a small business owner, if the membership interests may be considered securities, you are looking for an exemption as you do not want the risk of substantial fines from the SEC and possibly worse yet, you do not want the purchaser to try to rescind the purchase. This article reviews the various exemptions from the securities laws.
You have a small company and formed the business as a limited liability company. You think that securities laws are only for large companies. But If you think that the Securities and Exchange Commission is not interested in selling some membership interests in your LLC, you may want to think again – and ready this article. You have to be worried about federal and state securities laws only if you are selling securities. The big question is whether membership interests in an LLC are “securities.” The sale of certain limited liability company interests may fall within the ambit of a securities transaction. This article addresses the question of whether ownership interests in a LLC are subject to securities laws. In the next article, we will discuss what are the implications of treating the sale of ownership interests in a LLC as a securities transaction. Then you need to think about who you can sell those LLC interests to and who can represent your company in finding investors.
Checklist for selling or buying a small business: Starting a business is relatively simple, especially if you have worked with a startup lawyer. Selling your small business, however, may be more challenging than you anticipated. Forming a new business is not challenging. You can form a business just as quickly as you ask your small business lawyer to file the papers with the corporations department or in Washington DC with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Selling a business is a lot more challenging than forming a business. There may be many reasons to exit and you now want to receive the full value (value is in the eye of the beholder of course) of the company that you started. You will need the services of your business advisers, your tax advisers and of course your mergers and acquisitions attorney. This article highlights some of the guideposts in the merger or acquisition of a small business.