When buy-sell agreements go bad: tales from the trenches

BVWireIssue #56-1
May 2, 2007

“Any lawyer who advises people entering into a business venture and who fails to urge the adoption of a buy-sell agreement is guilty of malpractice,” says the teacher’s manual to the Business Associations casebook.  Adds co-author Stephen Bainbridge (William D. Warren Professor of Law, UCLA), “Chris Mercer’s new release, Buy-Sell Agreements: Ticking Time Bombs or Reasonable Resolutions?, offers a tremendously useful guide to these remarkably important contracts” for business people, their financial advisors and attorneys. 

Without this guidance, the lack of a buy-sell agreement—or one that’s poorly-drafted—can result in costly litigation and a painful falling out between business partners and/or family members. Two recent cases highlight what happens when a buy-sell goes bad: In the first, shareholders of a small company debated a buy-sell for years, but failed to put the final terms in writing—until one of them died.  In the second, disagreements about the appraisal process turned a legally viable provision into a lengthy lawsuit.  For the case abstracts, originally published in the February BVU, click here

What’s your war story?  Email the BVWire editor with your tale from the buy-sell trenches, and we may feature it in the three-part teleconference series this summer led by Chris Mercer.  For more information on the exclusive Buy Sell series with Mercer Capital, click here.

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