Pelisäännöt yhtiön omistamiseen ja johtamiseen

Osakassopimus on osakkeenomistajien välinen sopimus, jossa asetetaan pelisäännöt yhtiön omistamiseen ja johtamiseen. Sopimuksessa määrätään tyypillisesti esimerkiksi yhtiön päätöksenteosta ja varojenjaosta, osakkaiden työskentelyvelvoitteista yhtiössä sekä osakkeiden luovuttamismahdollisuuksista ulkopuolisille. Tavanomaisesti lisätään myös ehdot yhtiön liikesalaisuuksien salassapidosta ja kilpailukiellosta.

Osakassopimus tulisi tehdä heti yhtiötä perustettaessa tai ainakin alkutaipaleella. Sopimuksen tekeminen on suositeltavaa hyvissä ajoin, koska se sitouttaa osakkaat yhteisiin tavoitteisiin yhtiössä. Monesti osakassopimus neuvotellaan uusiksi suurissa muutostilanteissa, kuten merkittävän uuden pääoman saapuessa yhtiöön.

Osakassopimuksella suojataan niitä, jotka ovat sijoittaneet yhtiöön

Osakeyhtiöistä säädetään osakeyhtiölaissa. Osakeyhtiölaki luo hyvän yleisen viitekehyksen yhtiön johtamiselle ja omistamiselle, mutta se ei luonnollisesti huomioi yhtiöiden ja rahoittajien yksilöllisiä tarpeita. Osakassopimuksella voi korjata monet epäkohdat.

Osakassopimuksella rajoitetaan käytännössä aina osakkeenomistajien vapauksia, jotka laki muutoin sallisi. Osakkeita saa esimerkiksi lähtökohtaisesti luovuttaa ja hallita siitä riippumatta, miten osakkeenomistaja toimii yhtiön hyväksi. Yhtiöön sijoittamisesta kiinnostunut haluaa taas käytännössä aina varmistaa, että yhtiön avaintyöntekijät ja merkittävät osakkeenomistajat eivät voi päättää työsuhdettaan yhtiöön ilman osakkeidensa menettämistä. Ihmisiä ei voi vapaassa maassa pidätellä, mutta luovuttamisen täytyy tuntua vähintään menetettyinä ansaintamahdollisuuksina.

Moni yritys on rakennettu sitoutuneen ja osaavan tiimin varaan, ja koko korttitalo voi romahtaa, jos tiimi hajoaa. Erityisesti start-upeissa tiimi on jopa tuotetta tärkeämpi: kun tuote on vasta kehitysvaiheessa ja koko konsepti vasta hakee muotoaan, lahjakas ja muuntautumiskykyinen henkilöstö ratkaisee, miten ongelmat pystytään ratkaisemaan. Tiimin pitäminen kasassa on tällöin osakassopimuksen tärkein tavoite.

Laadukasta sopimista pienemmällä vaivalla

Sopimuskoneella laadit, allekirjoitat ja arkistoit kaikki yrityksesi sopimukset. Sopimuskone sisältää yhtiöoikeuden asiantuntijoiden kehittämän osakassopimuksen mallin, jonka malliehdot kattavat liki kaikkien pk-yritysten tarpeet.

Voit lisätä sopivat malliehdot sopimukseesi hiirenklikkauksin – ehdot muuntuvat sen mukaan, miten vastaat Sopimuskoneen esittämiin kysymyksiin yhtiösi tilanteesta. Vaihtoehtoisesti voit kirjoittaa omia ehtojasi. Sopimuskone neuvoo sinua sopimusta laatiessasi eri vaihtoehtojen merkityksestä ja mitä eri kohdat tarkoittavat. Osakassopimusmallissamme ei ole siis kysymys yksittäisestä pohjasta tai lomakepohjasta vaan älykkäästä osakassopimuksen pohjasta, joka sisältää tuhannen eri pohjan sisällöt.

Tämä malli on englanniksi. Osakassopimuksen laatiminen englanniksi on viisasta, jos on huomattava todennäköisyys, että yrityksesi siirtyy jossain vaiheessa kansainvälisille rahoitus- tai työntekijämarkkinoille. Jos näin ei ole, Sopimuskoneessa on erikseen tarjolla vaihtoehtoisesti suomenkielinen malli.


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Shareholders’ Agreement

A shareholders’ agreement is drawn up to agree on the ownership and management of the company

The shareholders’ agreement is an agreement between shareholders that sets the rules for owning and managing the company. The agreement typically contains terms regarding matters such as the company’s governance, the obligations of the shareholders to work for the company and their rights and obligations to sell their shares in the company under specific circumstances.

When should you draw up a shareholders’ agreement?

A shareholders’ agreement should be drawn up when establishing the company or at least during the company’s early stages. Drafting the agreement early on is recommended, as it will strengthen the shareholders’ commitment towards common goals in the company.

The shareholders’ agreement is often renegotiated during major transitions, such as the inclusion of a significant new shareholder.

What could be the consequence of not drawing up a shareholders’ agreement?

The Limited Liability Companies Act contains provisions for limited liability companies. The Limited Liability Companies Act creates a good basis for the management and governance of a company and, in many cases, also for its ownership. However, it – naturally – does not take into account the individual needs of companies and financiers; for this, a shareholders’ agreement is the best solution.

In practice, a shareholders' agreement will always limit the rights that shareholders would otherwise have under law. In return, the limitations protect those who have invested in the company. For example, ensuring that the company’s key employees or significant shareholders cannot terminate their employment without losing their shares will be justified in many cases. Many companies are built on a committed and competent team, and taking out key pieces may cause the entire structure to collapse.

In practice, failing to draw up a shareholders' agreement has resulted in failed acquisitions, having to tolerate shareholders who have lost interest, and other arguments concerning the development of the company.

What is the easiest way to create a shareholders' agreement?

Sopimustieto allows you to draw up, sign and archive all agreements in your company. Sopimustieto contains a shareholders' agreement template developed by professionals that contains standard clauses for the needs of nearly all SMEs. You can add suitable standard clauses to your agreement with a click of the mouse – the clauses change according to your responses to Sopimustieto’s questions concerning the situation in your company.

As you draw up the agreement, Sopimustieto will advise you concerning the effects of the terms and the terminology used in the agreement.

Our shareholders’ agreement template is not an individual template or form; it is an assisting technology that contains the contents of a thousand different templates.

Which contents are included in Sopimustieto’s shareholders’ agreement template?

Sopimustieto’s versatile template for a shareholders' agreement contains standard clauses created by our lawyers in the following areas, among others:

  • Operation of the general meeting
  • Operation of the Board of Directors
  • Limitation of dividend payments
  • Transfer of shares
  • Shareholders’ obligation to work
  • Share price in case of transfer
  • Obligation of confidentiality
  • Non-competition and prohibition of recruitment
  • Transfer of intellectual property rights
  • Agreement validity period
  • Agreement infringements & contractual penalty
  • Settlement of disputes
  • Applicable legislation

You can edit our standard clauses or add your own content according to the needs of your company.

What are drag-along rights? How does it protect the interests of the majority?

A typical model for so-called drag-along rights is one where, once the shareholders who own the majority of the shares (more than 50%) wish to sell their shares to a specific outside party, other owners must also agree to sell their shares to the same buyer. The general expectation is that companies are bought without minority shareholders. Being able to demonstrate that the buyer can purchase the company without the minority shareholders if so desired, and that individual shareholders cannot hinder the transaction, is a major advantage during the early stages of an acquisition. Drag-along rights deviate from the shareholders’ right to use their shares as they wish for the benefit of the majority.

The terms of the transaction must be equal for everyone; setting worse terms of payment for the minority, for example, is prohibited.

Can shareholders be obligated to work for the company?

Yes, they can. Shareholders' agreements typically aim to limit the departure of shareholders from the company, since the value of many companies is largely based on the personal know-how of the shareholder employees. Naturally, it is possible to agree that only some shareholders have an obligation to work.

Of course, nobody can be prevented from leaving. If a shareholder employee wants to leave, however, the typical punishment is that they need to hand over the shares they own, or some of them, usually at a specific, lower price. If the shares are valuable, each shareholder needs to at least carefully consider whether they really want to leave. It is important that the shareholders' agreement contains clear provisions regarding the situations when shares need to be handed over, and the applicable price. In such cases, the shares shall usually be handed over to the company or to other shareholders.

Can the shareholders' agreement be used to limit the payment of dividends?

Yes, shareholders' agreements are commonly used to limit the payment of dividends, especially in cases where external financiers are involved. Setting limitations on dividend payments is usually done in order to ensure that profits and capital invested in the company are spent on business development and not divided between the shareholders.

Remember a proper contractual penalty

A contractual penalty is an important boost to the binding nature of the shareholders' agreement. Agreeing on one is advisable, since the contractual penalty will by default be due whenever a breach of agreement occurs.

The significance of the contractual penalty is highest in provisions where something is prohibited and where demonstrating the damage caused by a breach may be difficult. The contractual penalty is an important deterrent for ensuring that the company’s business secrets are kept confidential, for example. (In addition to a contractual penalty template, Sopimustieto also includes a standard clause for confidentiality – please remember to add that to your agreement.)

You should set the contractual penalty high enough to ensure that all parties have an incentive to adhere to the agreement.

How can parties sign an agreement that I have drafted using Sopimustieto?

The parties can accept the shareholders' agreement with an electronic signature that is included in Sopimustieto. The electronic signature is legally valid and has stronger strength of evidence than a signature made with a pen.

How is the agreement archived?

In Sopimustieto, all of your agreements are automatically archived in your company’s Agreement Account, where you can easily find them afterwards and they will not disappear. The other parties will also receive their own agreement copies easily in digital form.

The more parties are involved, the more time you save, as printing and mailing or arranging separate meetings for pure formalities are no longer required.