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France

Takeovers

Updated 07/2009

Legal requirements

France's SME Assistance Act promotes job creation and business development and transfers.

Types of takeover

The most widely used takeover methods are:

Steps in the takeover process

Takeovers occur via either a private agreement (without notary involvement) or a deed of acquisition (in the presence of a notary).

A certified signature is required. This may be registered with the local chamber of commerce and industry, thus removing the need to systematically present proof of ID.

Retiring business owners need to plan the transfer of their business in advance.

Some standard requirements to be completed when taking over a business are the same as when setting up a new business.

Administrative procedures

Registration

The new owner must complete certain procedures to comply with the takeover process:

  • sign the memorandum of understanding with the transferring party;         
  • obtain written notification from creditors confirming the allocation of loans;       
  • release funds;
  • sign the final transfer deed.

           Formalities   when transferring a business:

  • register the sales contract within 15 days with the tax authorities;     
  • publish details of the sale in a legal gazette;     
  • publication by the commercial court in the official bulletin of civil and commercial announcements (BODACC) within 15 days;     
  • register details of the new owner in the trade and company register (RCS) and remove details of the transferring party.

Certain formalities govern the purchase of shares in a limited liability company (SARL):

  • obtain approval for the share transfer   from associates representing at least half the firm's capital, or a larger majority if stipulated by the firm's articles of association;     
  • modify the articles of association in line with general borrowing arrangements   (AGE) once the transfer deed has been signed;     
  • register the transfer deed and the new articles of association   with the tax authorities;     
  • file two copies of the transfer deed and modified articles of association   with the office of the commercial court.    

Resources

France's national small-business exchange offers takeover opportunities for smaller companies.

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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