This article deals with a situation where a person wishes to purchase a membership interest in the LLC and the agreement has been reached by all parties (i.e. the negotiations are over and there is an agreement with respect to main substantive issues, such as price, timing, assets, et cetera). In particular, I will focus on what an LLC Membership Interest Purchase Agreement (hereinafter “Agreement”) must contain (i.e. the minimum basic structure of the contract) in order to adequately protect the buyer, while providing necessary assurances to the seller.
Almost every business contract should contain recitals stating who the parties are and what are their intentions with respect to this Agreement.
B. Definition of Terms and Rules of Interpretation
In order to avoid ambiguity, the relevant terms of the contract should be defined. For example, you can state: “ ‘Indemnified Buyer Liabilities’ has the meaning specified in Article V of the Agreement” or “ ‘Membership Interest’ shall mean all of the economic, financial, and governance rights and interests of a member of the Company.” I suggest that the description of parties should be restated in this section of the Agreement, even if the parties are already described in the recitals.
C. Description of the Purchase Price and the Interest Sold
This is one of the most crucial parts of the Agreement. Here, you describe the terms of sale: the purchase price, the interest sold, how the sale will proceed, and the closing terms. Do not forget to indicate the documents that should be presented at the closing, the location and time of the closing, and the form of payment. I also usually include an additional paragraph to describe the effect of the sale.
D. Seller’s Representations and Warranties
This is the article of the Agreement that provides main protections for the buyer. The seller’s representations and warranties vary greatly from contract to contract. At the very least, however, the buyer should make sure that the seller guarantees clear title of its interest, lack of conflict with other seller’s obligations, good standing of the LLC, the company’s compliance with laws, no pending litigation, and intellectual property protection. These protections should be clearly and comprehensively described in the Agreement.
Again, there are many more protections available. I just described the minimum basic that must be in the Agreement.
E. Buyer’s Representations and Warranties
This is the article of the Agreement that provides main protection for the sellers. Many issues are negotiable here, but, at the very minimum, the seller should make sure that the buyer guarantees: the payment and protection of the seller from post-sale litigation. Again, these protections should be clearly and comprehensively described in the Agreement.
Indemnification is a complex part of the Agreement. The main idea behind indemnification provisions is to provide relief for the buyer (the seller may also enclose indemnification provisions for limited purposes) in case a problem arises due to the seller’s breach of its obligations, representations, and warranties under the Agreement, misstatement of material fact and failure to adequately disclosure required information. The provision itself is highly complex and involves many other issues, such as litigation, insurance, subrogation, and so on.
G. Consent to Transfer
In order to avoid unnecessary conflicts, it is crucially important to coordinate this Purchase Agreement with other existing documents and contracts. The most frequent issue – the limitations on transfer of a Membership Interest imposed by other organization documents, such as Member Control Agreement or LLC Operating Agreement. Often, these documents require a unanimous consent of other Members to the transfer. This is why the documentation of such consent is indispensable. This is precisely what “Consent to Transfer” provisions are designed to do.
H. General Provisions
“General” does not mean “not important”. On the contrary, general provisions often contain crucial provisions such as: amendment of the Agreement, notification process, consent to jurisdiction and venue, governing law, denial of waivers, and so on. These provisions are significant not only to the operation of the Agreement, but also to dispute management and economics of subsequent litigation. This is why these provisions should be drafted with care.
Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Experienced and Aggressive Legal Representation
This article describes only the basic general structure of an LLC Membership Interest Purchase Agreement. In reality, drafting and negotiating of this type of agreements can be a very complex process that should only be handled by a contract attorney. This is why you should contact Sherayzen Law Office. Our experienced contract firm will represent you during the negotiations, draft the necessary contract provisions, assure adequate documentation and due diligence during closing, and protect your interests throughout this whole process.