Shareholder and partnership disputes almost never resolve. Either someone is bought out or the business winds up, and you want to be on better side of that deal for you. That’s why it’s critical to get legal and tactical advice as soon as relationships turn sour. For every day you wait, the other party gains more time to entrench their position, siphon off assets, set up a competing entity or otherwise harm your business. At the same time, your high performers could read the writing on the wall and leave for the competition, or your staff could get caught up in the politics and take their eye off their jobs.
Whether you want to be the party who is bought out or the party controlling the business, your primary goal must be to preserve the value of an asset that could go south quickly.
Contact us now for experienced legal and tactical advice to put yourself in the best possible position to resolve a shareholder or partnership dispute in your favour.
Partnership and shareholder disputes can burn as hot as any marital dispute. That heat is exactly why you need advice from a lawyer with extensive experience in partnership and shareholder disputes.
An experienced litigator doesn’t just know the legal tactics, they know how to cut through the personal issues to get to the quickest possible commercial resolution. Fast commercial thinking is essential because the chances are that no business is getting done while the dispute rumbles. And if business isn’t getting done, the dispute can destroy the value in the asset. The sales pipeline is ignored, staff leave, stock isn’t ordered, creditors don’t get paid on time and the word gets around.
No-one benefits from making the business worthless. When the value collapses, the payout will be lower for the person exiting and the person remaining will be rebuilding from ashes.
Partners and shareholders have power and influence over everything, from bank accounts to relationships with clients and customers, suppliers, banks and staff. For that reason, our first step will be to work quickly to assess your situation and your risks, and run through a checklist of protections.
Fortifying your position includes going through your shareholders agreement if you have one. It will often include provisions that could be leveraged in your favour, if used strategically. Other provisions could weaken your position, so we need to take those into account and mitigate the risk.
Also, the dispute takes on an additional dimension if any of the parties are directors of the company. Directors walk a tightrope between protecting their own interests and honouring their legally enforceable duties to the company. Those duties include responsibilities to the shareholders with whom they’re in dispute, making professional advice even more critical. Alternatively, a breach of directors’ duties could be leveraged in your favour if the breach is perpetrated by the other party.
Our expertise in the multiple dimensions of shareholder and partnership disputes is why we get so many referrals from commercial law firms. The commercial law firm might feel its relationship with the company makes it impossible for the firm to act for a partner or shareholder of one of their corporate clients.
If you’re in a shareholder or partnership dispute, you will put yourself in the strongest position possible by taking action swiftly. Contact us now for a confidential discussion about the next steps to protect your position and achieve your end goal.