When starting a company with multiple shareholders, it is important to make sure everyone is on the same page. That is why having a shareholders agreement is critical. However, there is another type of agreement that takes it a step further: the unanimous shareholders agreement (USA). In this article, we will explore the differences between a shareholders agreement and a USA.

What is a shareholders agreement?

A shareholders agreement is a legal document that outlines the rights and obligations of the shareholders in a company. It usually covers things such as management responsibilities, decision-making processes, and buy-sell provisions. It is designed to ensure that everyone is clear on their roles and responsibilities, and to prevent disputes from arising.

What is a unanimous shareholders agreement?

A unanimous shareholders agreement (USA) is a more restrictive version of a shareholders agreement. As the name suggests, a USA requires the unanimous consent of all shareholders before any major decisions can be made. This means that even if a majority of shareholders agree on a decision, it cannot be implemented without the agreement of all shareholders.

What are the key differences?

The main difference between a shareholders agreement and a USA is the level of control that shareholders have over the company. With a shareholders agreement, decisions can be made by a simple majority vote. This means that if one shareholder owns more than 50% of the company, they can effectively control the direction of the company.

With a USA, however, no one shareholder can have that level of control. This can be beneficial in situations where there is a power struggle between shareholders, or where there is a risk of one shareholder using their majority stake to make decisions that are not in the best interests of the company.

Another key difference is the level of flexibility that each agreement offers. A shareholders agreement can be adapted to suit the changing needs of the company, whereas a USA is much more rigid. This means that if circumstances change and a decision needs to be made quickly, a USA may not be the best option.

Which one is right for you?

The choice between a shareholders agreement and a USA will depend on a number of factors. If there is a risk of a power struggle between shareholders, or if there is a particularly dominant shareholder, a USA may be the best option. However, if flexibility is important, or if there is a good working relationship between shareholders, a shareholders agreement may be more appropriate.

Ultimately, it is important to seek the advice of a lawyer when drafting any type of agreement. They will be able to guide you through the process and help you to choose the option that is best for your specific situation.

In conclusion, both a shareholders agreement and a unanimous shareholders agreement serve important purposes in protecting the interests of shareholders and ensuring the smooth operation of a company. However, the level of control and flexibility offered by each agreement can vary significantly, and it is important to choose the option that is best suited to your specific needs.