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Purchasing a German Company

Purchasing a German Company

Updated on Monday 14th September 2015

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Business in Germany

There are two ways to start doing business in Germany: to start a new company or buy a ready-made (shelf) company. German law makes no distinction between German nationals and foreigners when it comes to establishing a company in Germany and there are no restrictions on the repartition of profits. German law separates businesses into limited companies, joint stock companies and different forms of partnerships.

Shelf companies in Germany

As mentioned above, aside from setting a start-up company in Germany, one can always buy a ready-made company, or so-called shelf company. This type of company is already formed and registered but has no previous commercial activity. German shelf companies   can be customized according to the buyer’s needs.

Characteristics of ready-made companies in Germany

However, it is important to know the different structures of business, the rules for residents and non-residents and the legal aspects and taxes in Germany when it comes to buying a business in Germany. It also has to be kept in mind that each type of company has its specific rules on management and shareholder liability. Our German lawyers can offer you complete information about this process.

Procedure of buying a shelf company in Germany

In order to buy a German shelf company  the transfer of the shares have to be made from the company to the buyer  in presence of a notary, as all documents, including the transfer,  have to be authenticated. The buyer of the company also have to present identification documents.  After purchasing a German shelf company, the new owner can bring changes to the company, such as the name, object of activity, address, board of directors and/ or management.  The German Commercial Register has to be notified on all changes occurred in the company.

Advantages of buying shelf companies in Germany

Buying a shelf company in Germany offers many advantages for setting up a new business by speeding the process of starting the activity and requiring less documentation. However, it is totally recommendable to first check the economic background, assets and liabilities of a company before purchasing it. Another advantage buying of a shelf company is the exclusion from liability from founding a company.


Our law firm in Germany will offer you services on German VAT registration of your company. You can also contact us for starting a new business in Germany.



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