I have recently bought or sold a business. How will earn outs and deferred consideration be affected by coronavirus?
A common feature of corporate acquisitions is that part of the consideration is paid on deferred terms or by way of earn out over a period of years following completion. Where deferred consideration is payable, this is either on the basis that outstanding payments will be made on scheduled dates or, less usually, subject to certain agreed (typically financial) objectives being met. These objectives almost always relate to a period before completion of the deal and are dealt with as part of a completion accounts mechanism.
Lenders implementing the Scheme can assist in a number of ways, including:
- Term loans
- Invoice finance
- Asset finance facilities
The maximum value available under the scheme is £5m, with repayment terms of up to six years for term loans and asset finance. Overdrafts and invoice finance facilities will be available for up to three years.
Under CBILS, for the purposes of calculating the applicant’s annual turnover, approved lenders have been aggregating turnover across the whole of the private equity investor’s portfolio meaning they failed to qualify for the scheme as they were deemed to exceed the £45 million threshold.
For private equity-backed businesses, the removal of the upper limit on annual turnover criteria for CLBILS seemingly avoids the issue of turnover aggregation across investment portfolios seen with the CBILS, potentially enabling more private equity sponsor portfolio companies to be able to access the CLBILS funding.
Yes. The updated government guidance has confirmed that office holders (including company directors), salaried members of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) individuals working under umbrella companies (including agency workers) and individuals who are classified as ‘workers’ rather than employees can be furloughed but only to the extent that they are paid via PAYE. Therefore director’s fees can be claimed (subject to the cap) but dividends are excluded, as are bonuses and commission payments.
Those who are paid annual are now eligible to make a claim, subject to meeting the remaining requirements. This includes being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020 which relates to a payment of earnings in the 19/20 tax year.
The decision to furlough a director or office holder should be adopted as a formal decision of the company or LLP which should be minuted and notified in writing.
Company directors can only undertake work to fulfil a duty or other obligation arising from an Act of Parliament relating to the filing of company accounts or provision of other information relating to the administration of the director’s company while furloughed and they cannot carry out work that would generate revenue or perform services to or on behalf of their company. This also applies to salaried individuals who are directors of their own personal service company (PSC).
Despite remote hearings being the default position at present, formal permission will still be required by the court and a template order was circulated with the guidance. This template sets out the relevant directions and recitals to include in your order. An application to the COP for a remote hearing will not be required.