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If I own non-registered stock in a privately held corporation

can I sell a portion...
If I own non-registered stock in a privately held corporation can I sell a portion of that stock to another individual who will be joining the corporation as an executive? I want to sell the stock I personally own, not issue new stock from the corporation to him. If the total transaction will be 20k or less, are there registration requirements or would this be exempt?
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Answered in 33 minutes by:
11/5/2012
WiseOwl58
WiseOwl58, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,074
Experience: Senior Associate at White & Case LLP
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It would be exempt, provided that your purchaser was an accredited investor, as such term is defined in the 1933 Securities Act.

He would be an accredited investor if he qualified based upon net worth, or if he had sufficient knowledge of the business to understand the risks of purchasing the company stock since it is not registered.

Registration requirements are very onorous and expensive, so you do not want to have to register the company stock. Therefore, if he makes the representation to you that he is an accredited investor with sufficient knowledge of the company's business to understand the risk, and that he is purchasing the shares for his own account and not for resale, then the company and you are protected and it would qualify for the securities exemption.

This is the long form of the language that you might want to include in the agreement. You can shorten or amend as you see fit:

I, the undersigned purchaser, represent to the Company as follows:

1. The Company may rely on these representations. I understand that the Company’s sale of the shares to me has not been registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), because the Company believes, relying in part on my representations in this document, that an exemption from such registration requirement is available for such sale. I understand that the availability of this exemption depends upon the representations I am making to the Company in this document being true and correct.

2. I am purchasing for investment. I am purchasing the shares solely for investment purposes, and not for further distribution. My entire legal and beneficial ownership interest in the shares is being purchased and shall be held solely for my account, except to the extent I intend to hold the shares jointly with my spouse. I am not a party to, and do not presently intend to enter into, any contract or other arrangement with any other person or entity involving the resale, transfer, grant of participation with respect to or other distribution of any of the shares. My investment intent is not limited to my present intention to hold the shares for the minimum capital gains period specified under any applicable tax law, for a deferred sale, for a specified increase or decrease in the market price of the shares, or for any other fixed period in the future.

3. I can protect my own interests. I can properly evaluate the merits and risks of an investment in the shares and can protect my own interests in this regard, whether by reason of my own business and financial expertise, the business and financial expertise of certain professional advisors unaffiliated with the Company with whom I have consulted, or my preexisting business or personal relationship with the Company or any of its officers, directors or controlling persons.

4. I am informed about the Company. I am sufficiently aware of the Company’s business affairs and financial condition to reach an informed and knowledgeable decision to acquire the shares. I have had opportunity to discuss the plans, operations and financial condition of the Company with its officers, directors or controlling persons, and have received all information I deem appropriate for assessing the risk of an investment in the shares.

5. I recognize my economic risk. I realize that the purchase of the shares involves a high degree of risk, and that the Company’s future prospects are uncertain. I am able to hold the shares indefinitely if required, and am able to bear the loss of my entire investment in the shares.

6. I know that the shares are restricted securities. I understand that the shares are “restricted securities” in that the Company’s sale of the shares to me has not been registered under the Securities Act in reliance upon an exemption for non-public offerings. In this regard, I also understand and agree that:

A. I must hold the shares indefinitely, unless any subsequent proposed resale by me is registered under the Securities Act, or unless an exemption from registration is otherwise available (such as Rule 144);

B. the Company is under no obligation to register any subsequent proposed resale of the shares by me; and

C. the certificate evidencing the shares will be imprinted with a legend which prohibits the transfer of the shares unless such transfer is registered or such registration is not required in the opinion of counsel for the Company.

7. I am familiar with Rule 144. I am familiar with Rule 144 adopted under the Securities Act, which in some circumstances permits limited public resales of “restricted securities” like the shares acquired from an issuer in a non-public offering. I understand that my ability to sell the shares under Rule 144 in the future is uncertain, and may depend upon, among other things: (i) the availability of certain current public information about the Company; (ii) the resale occurring more than a specified period after my purchase and full payment (within the meaning of Rule 144) for the shares; and (iii) if I am an affiliate of the Company (A) the sale being made in an unsolicited “broker’s transaction”, transactions directly with a market maker or riskless principal transactions, as those terms are defined under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (B) the amount of shares being sold during any three-month period not exceeding the specified limitations stated in Rule 144, and (C) timely filing of a notice of proposed sale on Form 144, if applicable.

8. I know that Rule 144 may never be available. I understand that the requirements of Rule 144 may never be met, and that the shares may never be saleable under the rule. I further understand that at the time I wish to sell the shares, there may be no public market for the Company’s stock upon which to make such a sale, or the current public information requirements of Rule 144 may not be satisfied, either of which may preclude me from selling the shares under Rule 144 even if the relevant holding period had been satisfied.

9. I know that I am subject to further restrictions on resale. I understand that in the event Rule 144 is not available to me, any future proposed sale of any of the shares by me will not be possible without prior registration under the Securities Act, compliance with some other registration exemption (which may or may not be available), or each of the following: (i) my written notice to the Company containing detailed information regarding the proposed sale, (ii) my providing an opinion of my counsel to the effect that such sale will not require registration, and (iii) the Company notifying me in writing that its counsel concurs in such opinion. I understand that neither the Company nor its counsel is obligated to provide me with any such opinion. I understand that although Rule 144 is not exclusive, the Staff of the SEC has stated that persons proposing to sell private placement securities other than in a registered offering or pursuant to Rule 144 will have a substantial burden of proof in establishing that an exemption from registration is available for such offers or sales, and that such persons and their respective brokers who participate in such transactions do so at their own risk.

10. I know that I may have tax liability due to the uncertain value of the shares. I understand that the Board of Directors believes its valuation of the shares represents a fair appraisal of their worth, but that it remains possible that, with the benefit of hindsight, the Internal Revenue Service may successfully assert that the value of the shares on the date of my purchase is substantially greater than the Board’s appraisal. I understand that any additional value ascribed to the shares by such an IRS determination will constitute ordinary income to me as of the purchase date, and that any additional taxes and interest due as a result will be my sole responsibility payable only by me, and that the Company need not and will not reimburse me for that tax liability.



Good luck to you. I wish you all the best.

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Thank you for the thorough response.


 


I'm interpreting this as the rules around the exemption are roughly the same whether the sale is from the company or from me as an individual.


 


Are there any additional considerations that I need to be aware of when selling personally owned stock to him? Or special rules related to the transfer of that stock?

No the rules would be the same, that he would have to be an accredited investor since the shares are not registered.

Good luck to you. All the best.
WiseOwl58
WiseOwl58, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,074
Experience: Senior Associate at White & Case LLP
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Thanks again. In the text you sent with your first response, I assume I would replace "Company" with "Seller"?

Exactly. Just drop in "Seller"
WiseOwl58
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