Tailored for SMEs
Effortlessly navigate the legal nuances for SMEs with our dedicated business legal team. We know Australian business and tailor our support to meet your needs
Whether you are buying or selling an SME, you will proceed with confidence with us. We have negotiated countless seven- and eight-figure deals, and we are ready to assist you.
We cover all stages of SME business deals, including:
With extensive experience in negotiating and closing SME business deals, we narrow down the key issues quickly, thereby accelerating the negotiation process. We give definitive advice and help our clients assess commercial risk, which is why our clients trust us with their deals.
A merger usually involves the seller selling their business to the buyer, with the seller getting shares in the buyer, instead of cash.
An asset sale is where the seller sells business assets. The underlying ownership of the selling entity does not change. Only ownership of the assets being sold changes.
A share sale is where the shares in a company sold. Instead of the buyer buying business assets from the underlying company, the buyer instead buys shares in the underlying company from the owners of that company. This can either be a complete buyout or a partial buyout.
It is important to ensure that you get your corporate structure cleaned up before attempting to sell your business. Having an inadequate corporate structure could cause your deal to be delayed (until your restructure), fall over (due to delays) or cause you a poor tax outcome if the deal proceeds without restructuring.
In preparing for a sale, you should also go through a pre-sale process with a business broker to resolve any issues that may negatively affect the sale price.
The two transaction costs to keep in mind are GST and transfer duty.
GST will only be applicable to an asset sale if you buy business assets from the seller as stand-alone, and not all of the assets required to run the business. GST is not applicable to share transactions.
Since 1 July 2016, transfer duty does not apply to goodwill, intellectual property or plant and equipment in New South Wales. Transfer duty will apply to plant and equipment, however, if you are taking over the seller’s lease or buying an interest in land. In Queensland, transfer duty will apply to the entire purchase price.
If GST is applicable, then transfer duty will be calculated on the GST-inclusive amount.
Does your corporate structure position your SME to seize potential exit or growth opportunities, such as business sales or the entry / exit of investors?
With our corporate restructuring services, you will achieve a tax-efficient corporate structure while protecting both your company and personal assets. We also have the methods to ensure your corporate structure provides flexibility to avoid costly restructures required to prepare for potential exit or growth opportunities.
We can future proof your corporate structure through:
Corporate restructuring is where the corporate structure used for a business is changed to a different corporate structure.
A simple corporate restructure would be restructuring a business that operates as a unit trust into a company.
A more complex restructure would be restructuring a single company into a group of companies.
Corporate restructuring is important because having the wrong structure can trigger preventable capital gains tax consequences, complicate the entry / exit of investors and invalidate trade marks.
Yes, we have the methods to utilise tax concessions to restructure your existing corporate structure into one that will prevent adverse tax consequences, streamline the entry / exit of investors and protect your trade mark portfolio.
Australian & International
Obtaining a registered trade mark for your brand is the single biggest bang for buck investment you can make for your SME.
Having a registered trade mark will significantly strengthen your right to use your brand and will significantly reduce the risk and cost of stopping a copycat. A registered trade mark will also increase the attractiveness of your business to potential buyers and external investors if you wish to sell your business.
Protect your brand with our trade mark services, including:
Trade Mark Questions
A trade mark is a sign used, or intended to be used, to distinguish a trader’s goods or services from other traders’ goods or services. A trade mark may be a letter, word, name, signature, number, logo, picture, brand, aspect of packaging, shape, colour, sound or scent, or any combination of those.
Trade marks are registered in relation to certain classes of goods and/or services. Other traders are therefore free to use or register the same trade mark for unrelated goods and/or services.
You should register your trade mark as soon as possible, as the priority date for a trade mark is the date it is filed. Having the earliest priority date possible is important in case someone else files a similar trade mark.
The owner of a registered trade mark has the exclusive rights to use the trade mark and authorise other persons to use the trade mark in relation to the goods and/or services in respect of which the trade mark is registered. This means you can stop someone else using a trade mark in relation to goods or services that are the same or similar to the goods or services covered by your registered trade mark.
Registered trade marks can also be sold, transferred or licensed to another person, and even encumbered.
A registered trade mark lasts 10 years, and can be continually renewed for successive 10 year periods by paying a renewal fee.
A person infringes a registered trade mark if the person uses, as a trade mark, a sign that is substantially identical with, or deceptively similar to, the trade mark in relation to goods or services in respect of which the trade mark is registered.
Most trade mark disputes can usually be resolved quickly and commercially. Sometimes all it takes is to point out to the infringer that you are the registered owner of a particular trade mark. When the stakes are high, however, it may be necessary to commence court proceedings.
You should get legal advice as soon as possible. The accusation will either be legitimate, baseless or arguable, but in any case, you should have a lawyer respond to protect your position.
Corporate structuring is often used to isolate trade marks from risks your trading entity is exposed to.
If such corporate structuring is not utilised properly, it can actually invalidate your trade mark.
We have the methods to bring the nuances of corporate structuring and trade mark law together to provide your trade mark portfolio with the ultimate protection.
Commercial & Retail
There is no cooling-off period when signing either a commercial lease or retail shop lease.
A commercial lease involves the leasing of office space, industrial property or other commercial property that is not considered to be a retail shop. Commercial leases are completely unregulated, so there are no legal protections for tenants, unless they are specifically negotiated into the lease.
A retail shop lease relates to the leasing of a retail shop. Retail shop leases are regulated by the Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW) in New South Wales and equivalent legislation in other states. As a general rule, a premises will be considered to be a retail shop where:
- it is one of the retail shop businesses listed in the Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW), Schedule 1; or
- it is within a cluster of five or more premises containing retail shop businesses.
‘Ratchet clauses’ that seek to prevent the base rent from ever decreasing on a market rent review are void when included in retail shop leases. These ratchet clauses are common in commercial leases because there is no prohibition against them being included in commercial leases.
The Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW) also provides protections for tenants where the landlord wishes to relocate the tenant to different premises or demolish the retail shopping centre, or if the retail shop is damaged. These protections are not automatically included in commercial leases, and need to be negotiated before the lease is signed.
Landlords are also required to deposit any security deposit with NSW’s Retail Bond Scheme within 20 business days of receiving it.
Grow with confidence when leasing commercial, office or retail space for your SME. We actively lead lease negotiations by cutting through distractions and focusing on the key commercial issues.
Our leasing services for SMEs include:
Employment law can be a minefield for SMEs. From preparing employment contracts, through to terminating the employment relationship and managing post-employment restraints, we have you covered.
Our employment law services for SMEs include:
A small business employer is an employer that employs fewer than 15 employees.
Employees of associated entities also get counted when counting the number of employees.
Small business employers:
- are exempt from the requirement to pay redundancy pay
- are protected against employees bringing unfair dismissal claims until those employees complete at least 12 months of continuous service
- are protected against unfair dismissal claims where they comply with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code
Head over to our Online Legal Solutions page to find out more.