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Healthy relationships between shareholders and directors are vital to business success. Where disagreement arises between company shareholders or between minority shareholders and directors it can give rise to a major distraction from the running of the business, which is not in anyone’s interest.
Our highly experienced, specialist Dispute Resolution team has a strong track record of dealing with shareholder disputes and unfair prejudice claims by disgruntled minority shareholders. We have acted in such matters for the minority shareholders, the company’s directors, and for the company itself (which is often separately represented in such matters). We take time to understand the background to the dispute so that we can tailor our advice to your particular circumstances. We can then advise, clearly and succinctly on your options and you can make an informed decision as to how best to proceed.
Many of our clients elect to use Alternative Dispute Resolution, typically mediation, to come to an agreement at an early stage to avoid litigation. Sometimes it becomes necessary to resort to litigation to achieve the right outcome. That may be an order that your shares are bought out at a fair price or orders to ensure the proper management of the company so as to protect the value of your shares.
We aim to resolve disputes as swiftly and effectively as possible in order to minimise the commercial impact on your business.
If the dispute does come to court, we will represent you robustly and tenaciously. That might mean:
- Petitioning for the equitable winding up of the company
- Issuing an unfair prejudice or minority shareholders’ petition
- Initiating a derivative action to allow shareholders to sue directors on the company’s behalf
- Defending claims (or threatened claims) of the above kind on behalf of a company’s senior managers.
Examples of our work:
Representing the majority shareholders of a failed business in a claim against them by minority shareholders for return of their capital invested and payment for their time spent in the business. We helped our clients argue that the claim should be against the company and not against its former shareholders.
Preventing company assets being undervalued by company directors and selling assets of the company at significantly less than their market value to third party companies under their control.
Acting for the Managing Director of a family-owned business to defend an unfair prejudice claim by a minority shareholder who alleged mismanagement and non-payment of dividends.
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