The right of first refusal is an important legal protection that allows business owners to protect their financial and ownership interests in a company. It allows a business to purchase stock from an employee or owner before that stock is sold to an external purchaser or outside party. This, in turn, allows the business owners to retain their control of the company by preventing an outside purchaser from obtaining voting rights or an equity stake in the business.
The right of first refusal can be exercised after the seller has already solicited an offer from an outside purchaser. It can also be exercised as a “right of first offer,” in which the company has the right to make a purchase offer before the seller solicits an offer from an outside purchaser. The specific terms and conditions of a company’s right of first refusal should be clearly stated in writing in official company ownership documents between the company and its shareholders, employees, or founders.
LLC and Operating Agreements