Are you considering buying a business in California’s Bay Area? If so, it is imperative that you ensure the transaction is properly structured. A well-structured purchase agreement is especially important if the target company has a considerable amount of debt. With the right approach, you may be able to minimize the debt that you take on as part of the transfer. Here, our California attorney for buying a business highlights some of the key things that you should know about minimizing the debt transfer when you purchase a company.
Why It Matters: Buying a Business Could Mean Taking on Its Outstanding Debt
Buying a business in California is about more than just about acquiring its assets. You also inherit outstanding liabilities, including unpaid debts. The amount of debt held by the business that you are looking to acquire can significantly impact the investment value. There are strategies that entrepreneurs can use to help minimize debt transfer.
Four Key Strategic Considerations to Minimize Debt Transfer When You Buy a Business
When buying a business, a proactive approach can make all the difference. It is crucial to protect your rights and interests. Here are four key strategic points to keep in mind when working to minimize the amount of debt that you take on when you acquire another business:
- Do your due diligence (know what is owed): Before finalizing a business purchase, be sure to conduct a thorough review of its financial records. It is vital to understand the full extent of its assets and liabilities. You need to accurately evaluate the business’ true value and potential risks.
- Negotiate with the seller to focus on reducing debts: Once you fully inform yourself about the actual assets and the outstanding debts, use this knowledge as a bargaining tool. It may be possible to negotiate the price downwards or require the seller to clear the liabilities before you close.
- Consider an asset purchase: Instead of buying the business entity itself, contemplate purchasing its individual assets. An asset purchase approach is one that allows you to handpick the assets you want and avoid taking on a majority of unwanted liabilities.
- Beware of successor liability risks: Even with an asset purchase, the purchaser of a business may still be held responsible for the previous owner’s liabilities under California’s ‘successor liability’ laws (Cal. Code Regs. Tit. 18, § 1334). Always consult with experienced legal counsel.
An Attorney Can Help You Structure a Business Purchase to Best Minimize Debt
The purchase of a business is an incredibly complex transaction—particularly so when that company still has outstanding liabilities. You do not have to figure out everything on your own. Engaging an experienced Bay Area business acquisition attorney is vital. Not only can your lawyer bring legal expertise to the table, but they are also able to review the proposed deal, negotiate on your behalf, help you evaluate all your financial risks, and take action to protect your rights and interests.
Contact Our California Business Acquisition Attorney Today
Lynnette Ariathurai has deep experience handling complex business transactions. If you have any questions about minimizing debt transfer when buying a business, we can help. Contact us now for a confidential, no obligation initial appointment. With an office in Fremont, our firm serves clients across the area, including in Newark, Hayward, East Bay, Milpitas, Union City, San Leandro, Santa Clara, and San Jose.