Shareholder disputes: Strategy and resolutions

If you are like most New Zealand business owners who are in business with other shareholders, you probably launched into the business without robustly defined terms between shareholders. As is common, you may not have any agreement at all.

As often occurs, shareholders fall out over an issue. They can’t agree on a resolution. They have different views about the operations or strategy for the business.

You then realise the situation is toxic. It can’t continue as is. Change is necessary.

You can’t agree amongst yourselves what the change is. Perhaps there is a mediated way forward to agree to operations and strategy.

Maybe it is time to part ways?

But how do you value the business? Who stays and who leaves?

These are not just business decisions, they are emotional. Both parties have invested in the business and not just money. Time. Energy. Sacrifices have been made to get the business moving forward.

Being a business owner is not easy. There is always sleepless night. Only another business owner can understand the impact it has on your life.

In my experience, resolving these disputes requires an in depth understanding of the law that governs companies and shareholders but it also requires an in depth understanding of the different methodologies to value a business. But that is not all, it requires an understanding of the personalities involved in the businesses and their emotional attachments.

With this understanding, I am able to assist the parties to resolve the dispute amicably so both parties obtain a win and can continue their commercial activities.

However, in some cases that this is not possible. In these cases, I assist our clients to navigate the Court process to obtain a result by force.

In my expertise, the biggest mistake business owners make in shareholder disputes is not obtaining professional advice early.

The consequences are that the parties can become entrenched in their positions and have unrealistic expectations. They have had time to “justify” their approach to the dispute.

Through acting on many of these cases, I have learnt that it is critical to:

  1. Get informed quickly; and
  2. Act fairly but firmly in the pursuit of resolving the dispute.

By doing this you demonstrate that:

  1. You are well advised of your position; and
  2. You are willing to fight for what is fair, and have in fact obtained expert representation to do so.

You must demonstrate that you will do what is required to bring this matter to a head and resolve it one way or the other.

If you want practical and expert advice that can actually help you to resolve this matter, you’re in the right place.

We can help you resolve the dispute so you can reduce your stress and uncertainty and focus on the things that matter.

The next step is to book FREE 30-minute Legal Consultation. At this Consultation you will:

  1. Get a real appraisal of your current situation;
  2. Identify possible issues to consider; and
  3. Develop strategy to resolve the claim.