Tag archives: earn-outs

Earn-outs and reverse earn-outs

In May, we wrote about the increased focus on earn-out provisions during the pandemic as a method to mitigate the risk of a target’s post-closing under-performance and to bridge any valuation gap between the purchaser and seller. More recently, we discussed post-closing balance sheet adjustments as a separate tool to address the same risk. In this article, we will focus on (i) reverse earn-out provisions and (ii) a review of the use of earn-outs in 2020 M&A deals.

Earn-out vs. Reverse Earn-out

As described in more detail in our May post, a ‘classic earn-out’ refers to a post-closing increase … Continue Reading

Earnouts: Sharing Risk and Reward in Uncertain Times

The turbulent economic environment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the M&A world in numerous ways. Among them is the increased focus on earnout provisions, both those in place from legacy deals and those being considered for inclusion in an upcoming transaction. This post provides an overview of the earnout mechanism and describes the alternative approaches dealmakers have at their disposal.

The purpose of an earnout is to allocate risk and reward between a purchaser and a seller in respect of the post-closing success of the acquired business. Earnouts are useful as a means of bridging the valuation gap: … Continue Reading

Smart contract applications in M&A: earn-outs

This blog has previously provided an overview of how blockchain technology and smart contracts might be adapted to the legal industry. In this post, we will explore the specific example of how these technologies may be able to simplify an earn-out agreement in an M&A transaction.

What are earn-outs?

In an earn-out, the seller of a business receives additional compensation after closing if the business meets certain financial goals. To put it simply, an earn-out is a series of “if-then” statements that determine how much the seller is paid based on different factors.

How smart contracts may help

Inherent in … Continue Reading

Tax considerations for earn-outs and reverse earn-outs

As we have previously noted, earn-outs are becoming an increasingly common part of M&A deals, and there are a number of key commercial questions to consider when negotiating them. But there are also tax consequences that must be considered when structuring earn-outs.

Earn-outs link a portion of total purchase price to the performance of the business following the acquisition. In effect, the purchaser will hold back a portion of the purchase price, and if specified targets are achieved, all or a portion of the held-back purchase price will be paid to the seller. In contrast, a reverse earn-out requires the … Continue Reading

Shareholder representatives in M&A

The post-closing process can be complex and time consuming. Hiring a professional independent shareholder representative to manage post-closing matters, such as purchase price adjustments, indemnification claims, earn-outs and escrow management, may be beneficial for target shareholders and management. In recent years, shareholder representatives have been commonly used in the U.S., and they are becoming increasingly common in Canada.

There are many benefits to hiring a shareholder representative to deal with post-closing matters:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest. When the purchaser decides to continue to employ target executives and management post-transaction, there is an inherent conflict of interest for the target
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