Family businesses and their owners
Gleiss Lutz has a long tradition of providing first-rate advice to entrepreneurs and their businesses. We’re familiar with their market and understand the challenges they face, and assist them in establishing, expanding and consolidating their business, securing its future viability and dealing with succession planning issues. From experience we are aware of the responsibility business owners bear for their family members, the company and its employees.
We also know how difficult it can sometimes be to align strategic family interests and the needs and constraints of the business.
For us, trust, quality and efficiency are key to delivering excellent client service. We efficiently deliver the made-to-measure solutions they require as well as the clear and practicable advice on how to implement them.
“For many large companies and the families behind them the team is regarded as the first port of call …”
Ownership and Structure
Choosing the right legal form is vital to ensuring a company’s long-term viability, enabling entrepreneurs and family-run businesses to optimise succession planning and secure influence and (private) wealth.
The choice made determines which restrictions apply with respect to management structures as well as the influence that family shareholders and possibly third parties can wield over the company. In some cases, certain legal forms also offer tangible tax benefits. Together with our client and their family we develop the best possible solution and guide them through the entire process – taking into account their specific objectives and circumstances.
Responsible management plays a crucial role in a company’s success. Advising entrepreneurs and family-run businesses therefore not only requires excellent legal skills, but also an understanding of the goals and interests of the stakeholders involved – from company owners, to family shareholders and employees.
We advise on all questions concerning internal company structures, corporate duties, relationships and division of responsibilities between the boards, specifically also in connection with succession planning at management and shareholder level.
We develop and implement tailored compliance programmes for companies to help them avoid falling foul of the cartel authorities and to minimise the risk of fines.
We start by identifying the particular risks and provide support in setting up the necessary compliance structures and implementing systems to monitor compliance in day-to-day practice. We are also able to provide extensive advice and support in investigating possible breaches of duty.
Clearly defined and legally sound succession plans are essential when it comes to protecting the long-term success of a business and preserving wealth (both company and private). They should therefore be established well in advance.
Gleiss Lutz advises entrepreneurs and family businesses extensively on developing and structuring succession plans. Key considerations include not only purely family-internal issues and the transfer of the business as such, but also which family members will take over the helm, whether the business and assets are to be transferred to charitable trusts or family foundations (including abroad), whether or not to bring in third parties at management level or as investors, or whether to contemplate selling the company. We develop a customized solution that meets their unique economic, legal and tax requirements. Not only does this cover all aspects of corporate, tax and inheritance law, but also encompasses other relevant areas such as employment, co-determination as well as capital markets.
Mergers and acquisitions are a common option for companies looking to expand, consolidate and/or secure their business – whether they want to broaden their offering, tap into new markets, join forces with competitors or sell specific operations or the entire business to strategic or financial investors.
Gleiss Lutz is one of Germany’s leading transactional practices, and regularly advises family-run businesses on domestic and foreign M&A deals and joint ventures. A successful transaction requires a tailored strategy based on client input as well as close collaboration with the company and its shareholders throughout the entire process. We are able to draw on experts from all relevant legal areas (such as competition/antitrust, tax, employment and labour law, IP or public law) where necessary. Our in-depth capital markets expertise also plays an important role.
Family-owned businesses typically value their organisational and financial independence, shunning outside investment and opting for long-term stability and viability.
However, major investments – such as in connection with acquisitions – often call for extensive financing, sometimes through alternative channels. Our banking and finance specialists are aware of this particular challenge and can prepare and help business owners implement a financing model that suits their specific needs.
Family-owned businesses typically value their organisational and financial independence, shunning outside investment and opting for long-term stability and viability. However, major investments – such as in connection with acquisitions – often call for extensive financing, sometimes through alternative channels.
Our banking and finance specialists are aware of this particular challenge and can prepare and help business owners implement a financing model that suits their specific needs.