Shareholder disputes

Disputes among business owners have been likened to a “corporate divorce” – one side has decided it is time to part ways, the other side bristles at the notion of being forced out of a business they helped build.  How you manage the process is crucial to the continued viability of the business and to the ability of the ousted partner to enforce important minority and contractual rights.

The law offers various ways to resolve these conflicts, with the most extreme being the breaking up of the business. We are often able to achieve a negotiated settlement but in this area - to ensure progress - it is often necessary to go to court first.

Working with our colleagues in Wealth Planning we are also able to provide integrated tax advice on the implications of any proposed settlement.

Recent work

  • Acted for shareholders who were suing a company because it was being run in a manner unfairly prejudicial to the interests of some of them.
  • Advised in a dispute over the earn-out payments made to the shareholder and former owner of a business purchased by a company.
  • Represented a shareholding director of a listed company, who was being dismissed. This was primarily a whistleblowing case with implications for share valuations.
  • In a case of first impression, defeated an injunction to stop a “squeeze out” merger invoked under New York Limited Liability Act, and enforced the statutorily-mandated dispute resolution mechanism that resolved valuation, minority oppression and damages claims.
  • By leveraging applicable UK employment laws and US minority shareholder and contract rights, utilized a cohesive cross-border settlement and litigation strategy to achieve a resolution of the rights of a high-ranking executive to significant earn-out

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