Purchasing a German Company

Purchasing a German Company

Updated on Monday 10th February 2020

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There is not always necessary to start from scratch if you want to invest in a foreign country. Many foreigners who decide to extend their business activity in Germany choose, instead of registering a new company, to buy a local enterprise, which is already in the evidence of the local authorities. Our attorneys in Germany can present to you in detail what are the legal requirements for purchasing a company in this country.

Business in Germany

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. When you purchase a ready made company you need to make sure that its legal structure allows you to organize your business according to your objectives. In case the legal form of the shelf company does not respond to your wishes, you might be able to change it in the future with the help of one of our German lawyers.

Shelf companies in Germany

As mentioned above, aside from setting up 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. The main advantage in purchasing a shelf company is that you can have immediately a functional business. The time needed for the registration procedure can be used instead for other activities which can contribute to the well-functioning of your business.

Characteristics of ready-made companies in Germany

A ready-made company in Germany can be a small business just as well as a large enterprise. If you intend to work with a particular type of legal structure you can try to find a shelf company which complies with your requirements.

However, after acquisition, any shelf company can be reorganized according to your needs. Another element which is part of the ready-made company is the name. In some cases, a good name, which enjoyed some popularity on the market, can provide advantages to the investors. In case the name does not suit your plans for the company you can also change it very easily.

Just like any other registered enterprise the shelf company has an official address. You will be able to change the address if you find a better location, on the basis of a new purchase or rental agreement. Our German lawyers can offer you complete information about this process and can assist you with any stage of the company acquisition.

Procedure of buying a shelf company in Germany

In order to buy a German shelf company the transfer of the shares has 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 should present as well the 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. You may employ for this purpose a due diligence service from our law firm in Germany. Our specialists can determine the legal status of the target company that you intend to buy, and prevent you from making an uninspired purchase. 

Another advantage of buying a shelf company is that you are no longer affected by the liability implied by the foundation of a new company. Moreover, a well-chosen ready-made company can provide you with a clean background and trustworthy history which may help you in the accessing of bank credits for your business. 

A shelf company that will be involved in trade activities will need to be subject to EORI registration in Germany after purchase.

Our law firm in Germany can offer you professional legal support with the acquisition and administration of your company in this country. Please contact us and let us help you with the elaboration of the purchase contract for any shelf company in Germany.