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The litigation landscape post pandemic: share purchase agreements and warranty claims

Gateley Legal

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Despite the challenging conditions, we saw acquisitions pick up towards the end of 2020.  Some of this was driven by the opportunities which undoubtedly arise when certain sectors are under stress and others (pharma, info comms, digital) are facing a positive shift in demand for their products and services.

But sellers who are faced with reduced or no-earn out payments will start to ask whether this is a consequence of recent events or poor management by the buyers post-acquisition?  Buyers who find themselves thinking the company they have acquired is not worth what they paid for it will start to ask if the accounts showed a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the company and its profit or loss, or were they misled because the sellers failed to comply with the relevant accounting standards in recognising and making provision for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Look out for any issues and start investigating immediately.  Any price adjustment disputes, claims for breaches of accounts warranties and claims under tax covenants must be notified in accordance with the provisions in the SPA.  What does the SPA say about how a notice must be worded, the date by which any claim must be notified and how notices must be served?  Getting the notification right is extremely important because any notice that does not properly comply with the contractual provisions for notification in the SPA will be invalid and purchasers will lose their right to bring a claim.

Do you wish to make a warranty claim or any other kind of claim under an SPA?

We have a lot of experience of investigating loss, working together with forensic accountants in cases of breach of accounts warranties and preparing properly worded notices that comply with the contractual provisions for notification of claims in the SPA.  We also have a lot of experience of fighting and defending SPA and warranty claims for buyers and sellers through the courts and in appropriate cases, obtaining quick summary judgment for unpaid deferred consideration owed to sellers. Contact our expert listed below for more information.

Insights for the litigation landscape post pandemic

Follow our series looking at the predictions we have for the litigation landscape post COVID-19.

Introduction: The litigation landscape post pandemic
Article 1: Restrictive covenants and confidentiality
Article 2: Share purchase agreements and warranty claims
Article 3: Payment of bills and set off
Article 4: Technology disputes and IT contracts 
Article 5: Supply chain issues and force majeure clauses

Gateley Plc is authorised and regulated by the SRA (Solicitors' Regulation Authority). Please visit the SRA website for details of the professional conduct rules which Gateley Legal must comply with.

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