Subscription and Shareholders’ Agreement

March 23rd, 2015, by Erik Byrenius

After you have agreed on the term sheet (signed or not), the investor will start the final parts of the due diligence while the subscription agreement (Swedish: investeringsavtal) and shareholders’ agreement (Swedish: aktieägaravtal) are drafted. When the due diligence is complete it’s time to sign the subscription agreement and shareholders’ agreement.

Subscription Agreement

The subscription agreement regulates the terms of the investment itself, what happens in connection to the investment and what warranties the founders give to the new investors. The shareholders’ agreement, on the other hand, stipulates the terms for the future partnership and is not directly related to the investment itself. The subscription agreement refers to the shareholders’ agreement and typically they are signed at the same time.

Sometimes, these documents are merged to one big document (often called investment agreement) but for clarity they are usually separated.

The subscription agreement is very similar to the term sheet and doesn’t contain so many new things. Some things are explained in greater detail, such as warranties and indemnification but it’s quite straightforward.

Don’t forget to add the investors’ and their amounts in the clause called subscription. Sometimes the investors have to sign separate subscription lists but in this version the subscription takes place by signing the subscription agreement.

Shareholders’ Agreement

The shareholders’ agreement is probably one of the most complex and important agreements you will ever sign. It contains almost everything related to the shareholding of the company, including vesting, share transfer restrictions, drag along, non-competition etc. Breaking the agreement can have severe consequences so make sure you understand it – every detail.

Hopefully there will be nothing strange compared to the term sheet but count on new discussions popping up around details not specified in the term sheet. For example, everything in the clause transfer of shares is not mentioned in the term sheet, but quite standard.

The shareholders’ agreement should always be signed by all shareholders in the company. If new shareholders enter the company, they have to sign the existing agreement by signing an adherence agreement (attached as a schedule to the shareholders’ agreement).

/Erik Byrenius


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11 responses to “Subscription and Shareholders’ Agreement”

  1. […] articles of association (Swedish: bolagsordning) can be described as a very basic version of the shareholders’ agreement, including some formalities regarding number of shares in the company, company name etc. They can […]

  2. […] Use a term sheet in discussions with investors. When you have agreed on everything, you can choose to sign the term sheet (most of it is non-binding anyway) or just move straight on and translate it into a subscription agreement and shareholders’ agreement. […]

  3. Milan says:

    Finns Aktieägaravtalet på svenska??

    • Hej Milan, i dagsläget finns investeringsavtalen tyvärr endast på engelska. Jag överväger att ta fram en översättning till svenska till en senare version, men det är ett stort projekt och jag vet ännu inte hur stort behovet är. /Erik

      • Alex Hoang says:

        Hej, jag hade också uppskattat om aktieägaravtalet fanns på svenska. För övrigt tusen tack för alla underlag till oss som är startups!

  4. […] founders’ agreement is very similar to a normal shareholders’ agreement (SHA, Swedish: aktieägaravtal). In fact, it is a SHA in the sense that it’s an agreement […]

  5. Nuxus says:

    Agree that shareholders’ agreement is probably one of the most complexes. It’s hard for our team at the beginning, but later on is working well.

  6. Helt fantastiskt! Jag vill ha fler dokument. Marknadsplan för startup?

    • Idag släppte jag sekretessavtal. Tror du att det går att standardisera en marknadsplan? Jag tror att det beror så otroligt mycket på bransch, skede och marknad.

  7. Jonas says:

    Hi Erik,
    I downloaded the templates, but can’t find a subscription / shareholder agreement template (only the term sheet), where should I look?

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