Family-owned businesses face a unique set of opportunities and challenges when planning for and implementing merger and acquisition transactions, but share similar life cycles. First generation owner(s) start the business take on significant risks and pursue their vision. Through hard work and luck, the business prospers. The original entrepreneurs rely on the help of family members who share a common ethic. As a business grows, entrepreneurs are faced with the challenges of how to expand while remaining true to original values. These issues are magnified when subsequent generations take over as owners, directors and officers. It is important to ensure that shareholders and directors are in agreement on whether to pursue a sale or purchase transaction. Tax considerations and succession planning are critical factors. Financing structures and potential personal liability also play significant roles. Employment contracts, restrictive covenants, earnouts and posting indemnities all must be considered against the historic backdrop of the family business. M&A counsel need to be mindful that there are a multitude of interpersonal and intergenerational issues in order to ensure a successful transaction.
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