A Guide to Transferring Shares of a Private Company in Canada!

Transferring Shares

Transferring shares of a private company is a crucial aspect of corporate dynamics, allowing shareholders to buy, sell, or redistribute ownership stakes. In Canada, this process involves legal intricacies that require careful consideration to ensure a smooth and legally compliant transition.

Whether due to changing business landscapes or personal financial objectives, understanding the reasons behind share transfers and the role of a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) lawyer, such as those with GLG LP, can be pivotal in navigating this complex terrain.

Reasons for Share Transfer

There are several reasons why individuals or entities might opt to transfer shares in a private Canadian company:

Business Growth and Expansion: A company seeking to expand its operations or enter new markets may require capital infusion. Share transfers can facilitate investment from new shareholders who bring not only funding but also expertise to the table.

Changing Ownership Structure: As a company evolves, so might its ownership structure. Share transfers enable adjustments in ownership percentages, accommodating shifts in leadership roles or the introduction of key employees as shareholders.

Exit Strategies: Founders or early investors may decide to exit the business. Transferring their shares provides an avenue for them to liquidate their investments and realize returns.

Estate Planning: Share transfers can play a role in estate planning, allowing business owners to pass on ownership to heirs while minimizing tax implications.

Investment Diversification: Shareholders looking to diversify their investment portfolios might choose to transfer shares as part of their broader financial strategy.

Mergers and Acquisitions: In cases of mergers or acquisitions, shares are often transferred to facilitate the consolidation of two companies.

Role of an M&A Lawyer

Transferring shares in a private Canadian company involves a maze of legal requirements, and this is where an experienced M&A lawyer becomes indispensable:

Legal Due Diligence: M&A lawyers conduct thorough due diligence to ensure that share transfers comply with all legal and regulatory obligations. This involves examining the company’s articles of incorporation, shareholders’ agreements, and any contractual restrictions on share transfers.

Drafting Agreements: Share transfers necessitate well-drafted agreements to safeguard the interests of all parties involved. An M&A lawyer can draft share purchase agreements that outline the terms and conditions of the transfer, including warranties and representations.

Tax Implications: Transferring shares can trigger tax liabilities for both the company and the shareholders. An M&A lawyer can provide insights into the tax consequences of the transfer and recommend strategies to minimize tax exposure.

Regulatory Compliance: Depending on the jurisdiction and the industry, various regulatory approvals might be required for share transfers. An M&A lawyer can navigate these complexities, ensuring compliance with securities regulations.

Negotiation and Mediation: If multiple parties are involved, an M&A lawyer can facilitate negotiations and mediate disputes that may arise during the share transfer process.

Post-Transfer Support: Even after the share transfer is complete, an M&A lawyer’s role is not over. They can assist in ensuring that all necessary filings are submitted, and ownership records are updated with the appropriate authorities.


Transferring shares of a private company in Canada is a multifaceted endeavor influenced by business goals, financial strategies, and legal requirements.

Whether motivated by expansion, succession planning, or other reasons, individuals and entities should approach share transfers with meticulous care. Engaging an experienced mergers and acquisitions lawyer is not just a strategic choice but a practical necessity.

Article and permission to publish here provided by Patrick Otto. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on August 24, 2023.

Cover image by Pictavio from Pixabay