The relationship between the shareholders of a business is vital if a company is going to succeed. A shareholders’ agreement allows you to define that relationship, including each shareholder’s rights and responsibilities, but expert legal advice is needed to make sure you establish and maintain shareholder relations that work for your business.
CWJ is home to a team of corporate lawyers with many years of experiencing acting for clients in the area of shareholders’ agreements and shareholder relations. We work with clients all over the UK and abroad, advising on issues including:
- Drafting shareholders’ agreements
- Reviewing and amending shareholders’ agreements
- Advice on the interaction between shareholders’ agreements and articles of association
- Advice for shareholders on issuing new shares
- Advice on shareholder exits
- Advice for shareholders on corporate governance
- Shareholder disputes
Combining market-leading corporate law expertise and strong business acumen, we can help you achieve positive shareholder relationships that enhance your business and allow it to operate effectively, while keeping you legally protected.
Our expertise with shareholders’ agreements
Our Corporate and Commercial team are highly skilled in handling shareholders’ agreements and shareholder relations for a wide range of clients. As such, we can ensure every potential issue is considered and accounted for in your shareholders’ agreement.
Our lawyers have regularly advised shareholders of complex multi-million pound businesses, so have the skills and seasoned expertise to effectively navigate even the most complicated shareholder relationships.
Our Corporate & Commercial team’s expertise has been independently recognised in the following ways:
- Ranked Band 1 for Corporate/M&A: SME/Owner-managed Businesses by Chambers & Partners
- Head of Corporate and Commercial Ben Madden is individual ranked Band 1 by Chambers & Partners while Senior Partner Andrew Wright is recognised as an Eminent Practitioner
- Ranked Tier 3 for Corporate & Commercial by the Legal 500
Our shareholder agreements lawyers can assist with…
Drafting shareholders’ agreements
Shareholders’ agreements must be carefully drafted in order to make everyone’s rights and obligations clear, allow the company to operate effectively and minimise the potential for disputes.
Our Corporate Law team can ensure all relevant issues are considered and included in your shareholders’ agreement, including:
- Shareholders' duties and entitlements
- How the company will be managed
- How shares will be issued to new shareholders
- Appointing company officers
- How board and shareholders meetings will operate
- How decisions will be made between shareholders
- Shareholders’ right to buy the shares of shareholders leaving the company
- Shareholders' rights to information
- How dividends will be paid
- How the exit of shareholders will be managed (including the need for non-compete clauses)
Reviewing and amending shareholders’ agreements
While a shareholders’ agreement helps to provide a solid foundation for a business, this doesn’t mean it should be immutable. From time to time, there may be the need to review and amend the existing shareholders’ agreement to reflect the changing needs of your business and its share owners.
We can advise on the process for amending a shareholders’ agreement and work with your shareholders to achieve consensus on any changes needed. We can then draft an updated shareholders’ agreement, formalising any amendments.
Advice on the interaction between shareholders’ agreements and articles of association
All companies need articles of association and there is often some interaction between these and the shareholders’ agreement. It is important to understand these points of interaction and where there may be conflicts between the documents that need to be resolved.
Our Corporate Team can assist with drafting both articles of association and shareholders’ agreements in a way that allows them to work smoothly together. If you already have articles of association, we can create a shareholders’ agreement that works with it, making sure your business can operate effectively.
Advice for shareholders on issuing new shares
Where a company is planning to issue new shares, existing shareholders need to understand how this will affect their interests and the correct process for the share issuing.
Our team can provide clear advice for shareholders on issuing new shares, making sure this is done in a way that enhances the company while protecting individual shareholders rights and stake in the business.
Advice on shareholder exits
Shareholders leaving a business can be a challenge, with the potential to disrupt the way the business works and the balance of decision making between the remaining shareholders. It is therefore essential that shareholder exits are managed extremely carefully.
Our corporate lawyers can advise you on the different options for shareholder exits, including the company buying back the shares and selling a shareholder’s stake to another shareholder or a third party. We can ensure you make the right choice for the overall health of the business and the individual shareholders.
Advice for shareholders on corporate governance
Shareholders of a company have a duty to ensure proper corporate governance. This normally extends to appointing the company directors and auditors, as well as taking reasonable steps to make sure a proper governance structure is in place.
Our team can advise shareholders on their corporate governance obligations and what specifically they need to do to meet those obligations. This can give shareholders confidence that they are meeting their legal responsibilities in this area.
Disputes between shareholders can be very damaging for a business and even lead to its failure, if they are not swiftly nipped in the bud. Fortunately, most shareholder disputes can be resolved quickly and amicably through the intervention of our business disputes experts.
Wherever possible, we can help you agree a resolution to a dispute or potential dispute that protects your business and the relationship between its shareholders. This is usually in the best interests of everyone as it minimises any disruption to your business and the costs involved.
See how we can help with commercial litigation.
Our legal fees for shareholders’ agreements and shareholder relations advice
Cost is an important factor when dealing with any kind of business legal matter. We aim to keep our pricing clear and competitive, with our rates benchmarked against comparable firms.
Where appropriate, we can act on a fixed fee basis, giving you certainty over the costs involved in dealing with a shareholders’ agreement or shareholder relations. Alternatively, we can calculate our fees on an hourly basis where this is more appropriate for your needs.
We offer flexible payment options so you can structure your payments in a way that fits your business requirements.
Find out more about our fees.