Articles Posted in Business Transactions

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Hedge funds are defined as a limited partnership of investors that use high risk methods to realize large capital gains. Without an applicable exemption, the hedge fund must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and meet complex, ongoing filing and disclosure requirements. However, depending on investor qualifications, the hedge fund can avoid being defined as an investment company if its participants are either accredited investors or qualified purchasers. Thus. hedge fund managers should consult with an experienced California corporate attorney in order to ensure that their hedge fund practices are in compliance with existing law and regulatory mandates.

The Difference Between an Accredited Investor and a Qualified Purchaser

An accredited investor is an individual who satisfies SEC requirements for income, net worth, asset size, government status, and/or professional experience. In other words, an accredited investor is financially savvy, and because of this , he or she has less need for the protections offered by mandatory regulatory disclosures. Thus, an investment advisor or group working with an accredited investor can be exempt from certain mandatory disclosures. A qualified purchaser is similar to an accredited investor, but requires a higher net worth requirement as defined by the United States Code.

Fotolia_136329992_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x200The sale of a business can be far more complicated than simply signing contracts and transferring assets from one side to the other. Tax and civil liability can be incurred in a traditional sale, anonymity may be required for a host of reasons, and in hostile takeovers, the buyer will need to bypass the seller’s Board of Directors altogether and go directly to the shareholders in order to have the sale approved. Establishing a shell corporation or holding company are two examples of ways to accomplish such goals in a business transaction. A Silicon Valley corporate lawyer can help your business identify its goals and determine which tools best meet its needs in any sales transaction.

What is a Shell Corporation?

As a general matter, a shell corporation can be thought of as a tool for business transactions. As described above, shell corporation can be used to achieve specific goals in connection with business transactions, such as maintaining anonymity, reducing tax liability, or obtaining financing. For example, many startup companies utilize shell corporations in order to store funds during early stages of financing.

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There are many ways for San Jose technology companies to obtain startup financing and fundraising. One way in which private financing and fundraising can be accomplished is through convertible notes, and may or may not require the involvement of traditional venture capital firms. Convertible notes can allow startup companies to determine the amount of control that their investors will have over the management of their company during the initial startup phase. The experienced San Jose corporate attorneys at Structure Law Group can help your startup explore all financing options to advise on which are best for your business.

A convertible note is a form of short-term debt that converts to equity at a specified point in the future. For startup companies, this is most often accomplished by converting an investor’s initial investment into a given number of shares in the company, at a specified round of financing. The equity does not need to be expressed in shares of common stock, nor does it even have to occur during the first round of financing. The note’s terms and conditions can be negotiated to meet the needs of both the startup company and its investor(s).

Other Negotiable Terms of a Convertible Note

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has, in recent months, been closely monitoring private equity and venture capital fund managers in order to identify conflicts of interest. The more investments a particular manager oversees, the more potential there is that he or she will encounter a conflict for two (or more) investments. An experienced San Jose corporate attorney can help your business enact practices which will help your fund managers identify and resolve conflicts of interest as early as possible. This will save your business the time and expense of administrative sanctions, SEC hearings, and civil liability – all of which are potential ramifications for any violation of the fiduciary duty of loyalty to act in the best interest of each fund a manager manages.

The Problem Area of Related Transactions

When a venture capital or private equity funds manager engages in transactions closely related to the fund’s investors or portfolio companies, a potential conflict of interest is created. Common examples include co-investment, or when an investor, fund manager, or another one of the manager’s funds has the opportunity to invest in one of the fund’s portfolio companies under terms and conditions which are different from those of the initial investment. Co-investment can also present a problem when a fund manager has an investment opportunity which should be presented to two or more different funds and must determine which fund gets priority at a given time. Fund managers can also face conflicts of interest when divesting a fund of its assets. In such a case, many managers oversee other funds which would benefit from the purchase of the divested assets, but this would create a conflict between the interests of the selling fund (which must maximize the sales price) and the purchasing fund (which must minimize the sales price). When an affiliated transaction arises between a fund manager, its affiliates, the fund, or an individual investment, there is a potential that the fund manager will face a conflict between the interests of the initial fund investment and the affiliated transaction. The affiliated transaction must be carefully assessed for all potential sources of conflict.

California recently surpassed France and Brazil to become the world’s sixth-largest economy. As such, California is home to many businesses with significant assets. In this fast paced, value creating culture, it is not unusual for asset purchase agreements to be completed with pre-printed forms and templates.

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Unfortunately, many business owners learn the hard way that an asset purchase template fails to address the particulars of the business assets being acquired or sold and provides inadequate protection for the financial and legal interests at stake. An experienced corporate attorney can help protect your company by structuring an asset purchase agreement that is suited to your transaction, enforceable, and able to cover a wide array of contingencies that may arise.

Many Things Can Go Wrong in an Asset Purchase Transaction

There are a variety of ways for a corporation to sell its assets without compromising its structural integrity or otherwise damaging the business.  One common method by which California corporations can sell assets is a stock purchase agreement.  For example, if an investor (which can even be a company) wants to buy stock in a company,

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the executing instrument is typically a stock purchase agreement.  The stock purchase agreement allows a business to sell its assets – and sometimes, certain voting and management rights – without actually selling the business itself.  In order to protect the assets at issue and protect the legal interests of the companies involved, a California corporate transactional attorney can help businesses effectively negotiate and execute stock purchase agreements.

What is a Stock Purchase Agreement?

For many businesses, promissory notes are a significant asset in the company’s financial portfolio. Securing such a promissory note with a personal guarantee can be an guarantee-300x200important step in protecting the company’s financial interests. Unfortunately, many business owners learn the hard way that a simple promissory note template is not always sufficient to enforce the personal guarantee, thus wasting this valuable asset. Learn more about how a Los Angeles business attorney can help you secure all your assets to protect the financial health of your business.

The Benefits of a Personal Guarantee

When a personal guarantee is accompanied with a promissory note, a personal guarantee acts like collateral. The asset (promissory note) is protected by the collateral (the guarantor’s promise to pay, and the ability to sue the guarantor personally for noncompliance with the terms of the promissory note). As with any collateral, a personal guarantee gives the asset more security. Businesses can therefore protect their financial interests by protecting promissory notes with personal guarantees.

Contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers deserve to be paid for the work they complete and the supplies they provide. All too often, however, they are not adequately or promptly paid and find themselves in a payment dispute. Fortunately, the law gives those in the construction industry a legal tool called a “mechanic’s lien” to use to secure their right to proper payment.

Can You File a Lien? Mechanics-Liens-300x199

The first step is to determine whether you are eligible to file a lien in California. Our state only recognizes liens filed by individuals who are in a contract directly with a property owner, a contractor, a subcontractor, or anyone who is a legal agent of those parties.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are complex business transactions with much on the line.  If a merger or acquisition is not successful, a business can lose substantial assets.  Of course, no one would intentionally enter into an acquisition transaction knowing it would fail; however, reports have indicated that more than half of acquisitions do fail at some point.

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It is important to understand how acquisitions fail, steps to take to prevent failure, and how your business can recover from a failed merger and acquisition.  An experienced California merger and acquisition lawyer from Structure Law Group, LLP can help you understand all aspects of a merger and acquisition and help you prepare for any outcome.

Common Reasons For Failed Acquisitions

Limited liability companies, or LLCs, are one of the various types of business entities from which you can choose when forming a company.  Generally speaking, limited liability companies combine the tax advantages and flexibility of a partnership with the liability protections of a corporation, without subjecting small business owners to the onerous reporting requirements and governance rules associated with corporations.  When forming a limited liability company there are many factors to consider and questions to ask.  The Silicon Valley business attorneys at Structure Law Group, LLP have the knowledge and experience to advise entrepreneurs to weigh all options and make the best decisions for the limited liability company now and in the future.

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How Does an LLC Limit Liability?

Like a corporation, a limited liability company is a separate legal and tax entity, meaning that the LLC is separate from the members who manage and operate the business.  And also like a corporation, the LLC, and not the LLC’s owners, will be liable for the LLC’s debts.  For example, if one sues the LLC to recover on an outstanding debt, only the LLC’s assets can be reached.  In other words, an LLC’s members are not personally liable for the LLC’s debts (just like how a corporation’s shareholders are not personally liable for the corporation’s debts).  This is significantly different than a general partnership or sole proprietorship, where the partners or the individual owner, respectively, are personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business.