Sullivan’s Family Businesses Group understands the unique challenges facing family businesses and family office organizations. Our attorneys have extensive experience in identifying and helping to resolve key legal and business issues associated with the successful transition from one generation to the next of a family business. This includes advising on and drafting non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, employment agreements and shareholder agreements, and when necessary, separation agreements. By taking a holistic approach, we also advise on income and transfer tax planning – increasing ownership through stock bonus programs, implementation of deferred compensation arrangements, and similar strategies for efficiently transferring ownership to the next generation.

Our M&A and financing expertise also provides critical support for strategic acquisitions and dispositions, and financing acquisitions and critical operations. Our tax and benefits attorneys have guided clients through the transfer of ownership using employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and other forms of equity compensation vehicles to provide ownership incentives to critical employees. Our ultimate goal is to help clients preserve and manage intergenerational transfers, where possible, and to protect the underlying value of the business as management and ownership shift.

Family offices often present particularly unique challenges from clients who know just what they want but are often unsure of how to accomplish their goal. Years of experience supporting family offices has produced a talented team of advisors within our firm and in a wide variety of disciplines, including corporate, real estate, securities, tax, employment and benefits.

Our Family Business Group practice includes a range of services including:

  • Mergers, acquisitions and dispositions
  • Banking and financing support
  • Advising on and drafting contracts
  • Negotiating and drafting shareholder agreements, non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants
  • Ownership and management restructurings
  • Ownership succession issues, including the use of ESOPs
  • Equity compensation plan design and use
  • Personal charitable foundations
  • Bankruptcy and creditor issues
  • Employee benefit plans
  • Labor and employment support, including negotiating and drafting employment, separation and change in control agreements
  • Estate planning, wills, trusts
  • Securities transactions, including initial public offerings
  • Spin-offs and spin-outs
  • Tax planning and compliance
  • Venture capital and other private equity transactions
  • Investment Adviser issues

Representative Client Work

  • Represented principals of a manufacturer that makes and distributes ink-based dyes for industrial applications around the world in a $50 million sale of assets in the United States and the sale of the capital stock of affiliates operating in the Netherlands, China and Japan. We also assisted with the estate planning for the proceeds of the sale
  • Advised a family-owned wholesaler of alcoholic beverages in Massachusetts in its acquisition of a new headquarters, as well as related real estate and tax transactions
  • Represented a family in an equity investment in a joint venture among the family, a public company in which the family is already a major investor and a new outside investor, as well as a term loan to the public company
  • Advised a family-owned metals manufacturing business regarding growth through strategic acquisitions and succession planning
  • Represented a family office in multiple early-stage financings for emerging businesses
  • Estate planning assistance for two families each with more than one billion dollars of net worth
  • Represented a founder and his wholly owned investment arm that invested in a large number of startup companies, mostly in the medical device field. We also assisted with the estate planning work
  • Represented an employee-owned company that does advanced research for the military and other government agencies

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