Advanced

Företagsbesiktning – En analys av företagsbesiktningens rättsverkningar

Sporrstedt Lätt, Jonas LU (2018) JURM02 20182
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Begreppet due diligence är i svenskt näringsliv synonymt med företagsbesiktning. Som företeelse är det en procedur för att genomlysa ett målbolags ekonomiska ställning och andra förhållanden. Företagsbesiktningen är således ett viktigt instrument för att skaffa sig kunskap om inneboende risker i målbolaget samt för att identifiera risker med förvärvet i stort. Besiktningen ger köparen ett bra beslutsunderlag och utgör en betydelsefull grund för riskfördelningen mellan parterna.

Genom en väl utförd företagsbesiktning kan köpeskillingen justeras och villkor tas in i köpekontraktet som ger en korrekt bild av möjliga risker och felkällor. Företagsbesiktningen kompletteras vanligtvis av säljarens lämnade garantier. Garantierna kan vara... (More)
Begreppet due diligence är i svenskt näringsliv synonymt med företagsbesiktning. Som företeelse är det en procedur för att genomlysa ett målbolags ekonomiska ställning och andra förhållanden. Företagsbesiktningen är således ett viktigt instrument för att skaffa sig kunskap om inneboende risker i målbolaget samt för att identifiera risker med förvärvet i stort. Besiktningen ger köparen ett bra beslutsunderlag och utgör en betydelsefull grund för riskfördelningen mellan parterna.

Genom en väl utförd företagsbesiktning kan köpeskillingen justeras och villkor tas in i köpekontraktet som ger en korrekt bild av möjliga risker och felkällor. Företagsbesiktningen kompletteras vanligtvis av säljarens lämnade garantier. Garantierna kan vara specifika för vissa egenskaper eller allmänna. Genom den avtalade garantin preciseras köpobjektet och säljarens risksfär utökas i förhållande till köplagens riskfördelning.

I uppsatsens andra kapitel konstateras att köplagen (1990:931) är formellt tillämplig vid företagsförvärv eftersom aktier utgör lös egendom. Meningarna har tidigare gått isär om vilken lagstiftning som ska tillämpas men såväl rättspraxis som doktrin torde idag vara samstämmig om att köplagen ska tillämpas vid företagsförvärv. I praktiken väljer parterna emellertid ofta, genom avtal, en annan riskfördelning än den som köplagen stadgar. Detta hänger framför allt ihop med att köplagens felregler inte anses vara tillräckligt förutsebara i dessa sammanhang. När köpekontrakt utformas fungerar köplagen dock ofta som referens för den rättsliga riskfördelningen. I de fall parternas köpekontrakt är oklart eller ofullständigt utgör köplagen utfyllande rätt vid tolkning av avtalet. Eftersom det är mycket svårt att genom avtal på ett uttömmande sätt reglera samtliga risker, är det nödvändigt att parterna är väl medvetna om köplagens riskfördelning.

Enligt 17 § köplagen ansvarar en säljare för fel i köpobjektet om det avviker från vad som avtalats mellan parterna samt om det inte stämmer med köparens befogade förväntningar. För sådant som inte är avtalat och för obefogade förväntningar kan köparen således inte göra gällande fel enligt köplagen. Ett centralt problem vid företagsförvärv är emellertid att det är svårt att fastslå vilka befogade förväntningar en köpare kan ha. Aktierna i ett aktiebolag representerar nämligen en förmögenhetsmassa som kan bestå av en variation av olika materiella och immateriella tillgångar. Eftersom köpobjektet är unikt medför det att det sällan går att finna en jämförelsenorm utanför köpekontraktet eller för vad som annars har utfästs. Trots detta utesluter inte rättspraxis och den juridiska litteraturen att det kan finnas grundläggande egenskaper för aktiebolag som en köpare alltid kan ha befogade förväntningar på. Oavsett vilken åsikt man är av i detta avseende så är de befogade förväntningarna vid företagsförvärv väldigt få och inte utan reservationer.

Riskfördelningen i köplagen är fullständig på så sätt att det alltid är någon av parterna som bär risken. Detta kommer bland annat till uttryck genom köparens så kallade undersökningsplikt och säljarens så kallade upplysningsplikt. Ändamålet med såväl undersökningsplikten som upplysningsplikten är, bland annat, att färre köp ska ingås med felaktiga förväntningar. På så sätt kan onödiga tvister undvikas.

Som utgångspunkt finns ingen undersökningsplikt vid köp av lös egendom. Undersökningsplikten kan dock aktualiseras genom köparens initiativ, genom uttrycklig eller underförstådd uppmaning från säljaren, eller genom att köpekontraktet föreskriver att köparen getts möjlighet att undersöka målbolaget. Det har även argumenterats för att det vid företagsförvärv finns en undersökningsplikt genom sedvänja. I likhet med vad som gäller vid fastighetsköp skulle en företagsköpare i så fall ha en skyldighet att undersöka målbolaget utan uppmaning från säljaren. Företagsbesiktningen är idag visserligen mer eller mindre standard men något klart stöd för en sådan sedvänja torde dock inte finnas.

Köparens vetskap enligt 20 § köplagen har direkt inverkan på parternas risksfärer. En köpare kan inte göra gällande fel för sådant som denna ”måste antas ha känt till” vid köpet eller som denna ”borde ha märkt” vid en undersökning. I köprättslig mening leder således köparens vetskap till en omfördelning av risken från säljare till köpare.

Vilka krav som ställs på undersökningens omfattning och kvalitet vid företagsförvärv styrs av en rad olika faktorer. Bedömningen baseras bland annat på hur besiktningen har aktualiserats, hur tillgänglig informationen varit, köparens kunskap och erfarenhet samt säljarens handlande. Om en säljare till exempel lämnat motstridiga uppgifter eller underlåtit att upplysa om, för köparen väsentliga förhållanden, kan detta påverka bedömningen. Har säljaren handlat illojalt och i ond tro kan köparen få åberopa fel trots att det rör ett förhållande som denna borde ha märkt vid en undersökning. När en säljare lämnat en garanti gällande ett visst förhållande kan den begränsa besiktningens omfattning medan en friskrivning i regel utökar omfattningen.

Uppsatsen syftar till att belysa företagsbesiktningen som företeelse samt att undersöka hur företagsbesiktningen påverkar riskfördelningen enligt den dispositiva rätten. I fokus står den köprättsliga så kallade undersökningsplikten. Sekundärt granskas också hur säljarens garantier och friskrivningar inverkar på riskfördelningen. (Less)
Abstract
The concept of due diligence in the Swedish business sector is synonymous with "company inspection." It is legitimately a procedure for examining the financial position and other circumstances of a company. The company inspection is a significant instrument for acquiring knowledge of inherent risks in the offeree company, and for identifying risks with the acquisition in general. The control gives the buyer a good insight for decision-making and constitutes an essential basis for the risk distribution between the parties.

Through a well-executed company inspection, it is possible to adjust the purchase price and the conditions included in the contract. It will provide a correct picture of potential risks and sources of error. The... (More)
The concept of due diligence in the Swedish business sector is synonymous with "company inspection." It is legitimately a procedure for examining the financial position and other circumstances of a company. The company inspection is a significant instrument for acquiring knowledge of inherent risks in the offeree company, and for identifying risks with the acquisition in general. The control gives the buyer a good insight for decision-making and constitutes an essential basis for the risk distribution between the parties.

Through a well-executed company inspection, it is possible to adjust the purchase price and the conditions included in the contract. It will provide a correct picture of potential risks and sources of error. The company inspection usually supplements with guarantees provided by the seller. The guarantees may be specific to some properties or in general. The contractual guarantees will specify the offeree company, and the seller's risk factor increase concerning the risk distribution of the Sale of Goods Act.
In the second chapter of the thesis, it states that the Swedish Sale of Goods Act (1990: 931) is formally applicable to company acquisitions since shares constitute personal property. The opinions have previously been divided on which legislation is to be applied. Both case law and doctrine should today be consistent with the fact that the Sale of Goods Act should be implemented in a company acquisition. In practice, however, the parties often choose, by agreement, a different risk distribution than the one stipulated by the Sale of Goods Act. It is mainly since the rules of error in the Sale of Goods Act are not considered to be sufficiently predictable in these contexts. However, when a contract is drafted, the Sale of Goods Act often serves as a reference for the legal risk distribution. In cases where the parties’ contract is unclear or incomplete, the Sale of Goods Act constitutes to the interpretation of the agreement. Since it is challenging to settle on all risks through an agreement in a comprehensive manner, it is necessary for the parties to be well aware of the risk distribution in the Sale of Goods Act.

According to article 17 of the Sale of Goods Act, a seller is responsible for errors in the offeree company if it deviates from what has been agreed upon between the parties, and if it does not correspond to the purchaser's legitimate expectations. For things that are not agreed upon and for unforeseen expectations, the buyer cannot make valid inaccuracy according to the Sale of Goods Act. A fundamental problem with company acquisitions is that it is difficult to determine which legitimate expectations a buyer can have. The shares in a limited company represent a wealth of assets that may consist of a variety of different tangible and intangible assets. Considering that the purchase item is unique, it also means that there is seldom possible to find a standard of comparison outside the contract, or for what has otherwise been promised. Despite this, there may be fundamental characteristics of limited companies where a buyer can have legitimate expectations. Regardless of one's opinion in this respect, the legitimate expectations are in any case very few and not without reservations.

The risk distribution in the Sale of Goods Act is complete in such a way that it is always one of the parties that will carry the risk. It is expressed, among other things, through the buyer's so-called "duty to investigate", and the seller's so-called "duty to provide information." The purpose of the duty to investigate and the obligation to provide information is, among other things, to make fewer purchases with incorrect expectations. It is a way to avoid unnecessary disputes.

As a starting point, there is no obligation in Swedish law to investigate when purchasing personal property. However, the duty to research can be brought to light through the buyer's initiative, by express or implied request from the seller or by the contract stipulating that the buyer has the opportunity to investigate the offeree company. It also argues that, in the case of a company acquisition, it is custom and duty to examine the offeree company thoroughly.
In this case, as with real estate purchases, a company buyer would have an obligation to investigate the company without the seller's request. Although the company inspection today is more or less standard, there is no explicit support for such a custom to exist.

The buyer's knowledge according to Article 20 of the Sale of Goods Act has a direct impact on the parties' risk distribution. A buyer cannot make a valid error for such things as it must be assumed to have known at the time of the purchase, or which ut should have noticed during an investigation.
Thus, in the sense of the Sales of Goods Act, the buyer's knowledge leads to a re-distribution of the risk from the seller to the buyer.

Many different factors govern the requirements that are placed on the scope and quality of the inspection in company acquisitions. The assessment establishes on, among other things, how the inspection has been revised, how the information has been available, the buyer's knowledge and experience, and the seller's actions. If, for example, a seller has provided conflicting information or has failed to disclose to the buyer necessary conditions, this may affect the assessment. If the seller has acted unfairly and in bad faith, the buyer can claim wrong even though it relates to circumstances that it should have noticed during an investigation. When a seller has given a guarantee regarding a precise circumstance, it can limit the scope of the inspection while a disclaimer usually extends the reach.

The thesis aims to shed light on the company inspection as a phenomenon and to investigate how the company inspection affects the distribution of risk according to the Sale of Goods Act. The focus is on the so-called "duty to investigate," and also investigating how the seller's guarantees and disclaimers affect the distribution of risk. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Sporrstedt Lätt, Jonas LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Due diligence – An analysis of the legal effects of company inspection
course
JURM02 20182
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Företagsförvärv, företagsbesiktning, riskfördelning, köplagen.
language
Swedish
id
8966054
date added to LUP
2019-02-02 10:36:14
date last changed
2019-02-02 10:36:14
@misc{8966054,
  abstract     = {The concept of due diligence in the Swedish business sector is synonymous with "company inspection." It is legitimately a procedure for examining the financial position and other circumstances of a company. The company inspection is a significant instrument for acquiring knowledge of inherent risks in the offeree company, and for identifying risks with the acquisition in general. The control gives the buyer a good insight for decision-making and constitutes an essential basis for the risk distribution between the parties. 

Through a well-executed company inspection, it is possible to adjust the purchase price and the conditions included in the contract. It will provide a correct picture of potential risks and sources of error. The company inspection usually supplements with guarantees provided by the seller. The guarantees may be specific to some properties or in general. The contractual guarantees will specify the offeree company, and the seller's risk factor increase concerning the risk distribution of the Sale of Goods Act. 
In the second chapter of the thesis, it states that the Swedish Sale of Goods Act (1990: 931) is formally applicable to company acquisitions since shares constitute personal property. The opinions have previously been divided on which legislation is to be applied. Both case law and doctrine should today be consistent with the fact that the Sale of Goods Act should be implemented in a company acquisition. In practice, however, the parties often choose, by agreement, a different risk distribution than the one stipulated by the Sale of Goods Act. It is mainly since the rules of error in the Sale of Goods Act are not considered to be sufficiently predictable in these contexts. However, when a contract is drafted, the Sale of Goods Act often serves as a reference for the legal risk distribution. In cases where the parties’ contract is unclear or incomplete, the Sale of Goods Act constitutes to the interpretation of the agreement. Since it is challenging to settle on all risks through an agreement in a comprehensive manner, it is necessary for the parties to be well aware of the risk distribution in the Sale of Goods Act.

According to article 17 of the Sale of Goods Act, a seller is responsible for errors in the offeree company if it deviates from what has been agreed upon between the parties, and if it does not correspond to the purchaser's legitimate expectations. For things that are not agreed upon and for unforeseen expectations, the buyer cannot make valid inaccuracy according to the Sale of Goods Act. A fundamental problem with company acquisitions is that it is difficult to determine which legitimate expectations a buyer can have. The shares in a limited company represent a wealth of assets that may consist of a variety of different tangible and intangible assets. Considering that the purchase item is unique, it also means that there is seldom possible to find a standard of comparison outside the contract, or for what has otherwise been promised. Despite this, there may be fundamental characteristics of limited companies where a buyer can have legitimate expectations. Regardless of one's opinion in this respect, the legitimate expectations are in any case very few and not without reservations.

The risk distribution in the Sale of Goods Act is complete in such a way that it is always one of the parties that will carry the risk. It is expressed, among other things, through the buyer's so-called "duty to investigate", and the seller's so-called "duty to provide information." The purpose of the duty to investigate and the obligation to provide information is, among other things, to make fewer purchases with incorrect expectations. It is a way to avoid unnecessary disputes.

As a starting point, there is no obligation in Swedish law to investigate when purchasing personal property. However, the duty to research can be brought to light through the buyer's initiative, by express or implied request from the seller or by the contract stipulating that the buyer has the opportunity to investigate the offeree company. It also argues that, in the case of a company acquisition, it is custom and duty to examine the offeree company thoroughly. 
In this case, as with real estate purchases, a company buyer would have an obligation to investigate the company without the seller's request. Although the company inspection today is more or less standard, there is no explicit support for such a custom to exist.

The buyer's knowledge according to Article 20 of the Sale of Goods Act has a direct impact on the parties' risk distribution. A buyer cannot make a valid error for such things as it must be assumed to have known at the time of the purchase, or which ut should have noticed during an investigation. 
Thus, in the sense of the Sales of Goods Act, the buyer's knowledge leads to a re-distribution of the risk from the seller to the buyer. 

Many different factors govern the requirements that are placed on the scope and quality of the inspection in company acquisitions. The assessment establishes on, among other things, how the inspection has been revised, how the information has been available, the buyer's knowledge and experience, and the seller's actions. If, for example, a seller has provided conflicting information or has failed to disclose to the buyer necessary conditions, this may affect the assessment. If the seller has acted unfairly and in bad faith, the buyer can claim wrong even though it relates to circumstances that it should have noticed during an investigation. When a seller has given a guarantee regarding a precise circumstance, it can limit the scope of the inspection while a disclaimer usually extends the reach.

The thesis aims to shed light on the company inspection as a phenomenon and to investigate how the company inspection affects the distribution of risk according to the Sale of Goods Act. The focus is on the so-called "duty to investigate," and also investigating how the seller's guarantees and disclaimers affect the distribution of risk.},
  author       = {Sporrstedt Lätt, Jonas},
  keyword      = {Företagsförvärv,företagsbesiktning,riskfördelning,köplagen.},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Företagsbesiktning – En analys av företagsbesiktningens rättsverkningar},
  year         = {2018},
}