Selling a business can be a complex, time-consuming, and intricate process. It is thus essential to have all the necessary business sale documents in place to ensure a smooth and successful transaction.

These documents help protect both the buyer’s and the seller’s interests, clarify the terms of the deal, and provide a roadmap for the entire sale process. This article identifies the key legal documents needed to sell a business, including the Confidentiality Agreement, Letter of Intent (LOI), Due Diligence documents, Purchase Agreement, and other crucial paperwork.

1. Confidentiality Agreement

Also known as a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), this document is typically signed before the buyer is granted access to the business’s confidential information. It legally obligates the buyer to keep all sensitive information–like financial records and customer data–confidential and not use it for any purpose other than evaluating the business for purchase.

2. Letter of Intent (LOI)

The Letter of Intent, also known as a Non-Binding Offer (NBO), is a critical preliminary document prepared by the buyer that outlines the fundamental terms and conditions being offered. It serves as a formal expression of the buyer’s interest in purchasing the business and allows the seller to consider the offer and decide whether or not to proceed with discussions. The Letter of Intent typically includes:

  • Purchase price and Asset Valuation: The proposed price for the business.
  • Scope of due diligence: Scope in which the buyer can conduct investigations to verify the business’s financial and operational information.
  • Non-disclosure and exclusivity agreements: Clauses that restrict the seller from disclosing confidential information to other potential buyers during negotiations..

3. Due Diligence Documents

Before finalizing the sale, the buyer will typically conduct due diligence to investigate the business thoroughly. This involves reviewing various documents made available by the seller. Some key due diligence documents include

  • Financial statements: Profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and tax returns.
  • Contracts and agreements: A list of all contracts, including customer agreements, supplier contracts, and lease agreements.
  • Intellectual property: Documentation of trademarks, patents, copyrights, and any associated licenses.
  • Employee records: Information on employees, including employment contracts, benefits, and organizational charts.
  • Tax records: Tax filings, audit reports, and any outstanding tax liabilities.
  • Legal records: Pending or historical lawsuits, regulatory compliance, and any legal disputes.
  • Environmental and permits: Environmental assessments and permits are required for the business.

4. Purchase Agreement

A Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) or Asset Purchase Agreement is a detailed contract that specifies the terms and conditions of the sale, including:

  • Purchase price: The final price, which may be subject to adjustments based on the business’s financial performance at closing.
  • Transaction structure: Details on how the transaction will be structured, including whether the buyer is acquiring the assets of the business or its equity interests (e.g., shares or ownership stakes).
  • Representations and warranties: Statements by the seller about the accuracy of the information provided and the condition of the business.
  • Closing conditions: Requirements that must be satisfied before the sale can be completed, such as regulatory approvals or financing contingencies.
  • Transition and training: Details on how the seller will help with the transition and training of the buyer.
  • Non-compete and non-solicitation clauses: Provisions restricting the seller from competing with or soliciting employees and customers of the business for a specified period after the sale.

5. Transition Plan

A transition plan outlines the steps and timeline for transferring operational control and responsibilities from the business seller to the buyer. This can include a training plan for the buyer and arrangements for customer and employee communications during the transition. Other key documents as part of the transition include

  1. Employee Agreements: New employment agreements may be necessary if the buyer retains employees after the sale. These documents detail the terms of employment, such as compensation, benefits, and job responsibilities, under the new ownership.
  1. Lease Assignments

If the business operates from leased premises, lease assignment agreements are required to transfer the lease to the buyer. The landlord must approve these contractual changes.

Remember, if you are selling your business, give yourself the time to complete the process in a thorough manner. Selling a business in a hurry often leads to disastrous outcomes that cost money and time and can lead to the potential buyer walking away from the deal.


It is highly advisable to seek legal and financial advice to ensure that all the necessary business sale documents are in place and for the process to proceed smoothly. Hopefully, this summary provides a clear roadmap for both the seller and the buyer, ensuring protection and peace of mind throughout the sale process.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you sell and buy the business on the Dealcierge platform.

How DC can help you on your business sale journey: 

Dealcierge is built for SMEs to simplify the complex process of selling a business or seeking investment.

The DC platform combines an AI-powered marketplace with a step-by-step guided process and key supporting tools. DC not only reduces the time and effort required to prepare your business for a successful sale, but we can also help you obtain a professional valuation and match you with motivated, verified buyers ready to begin discussions.