How to sell a business in France

By Valérie Aston on 14 September 2016 · Viewed 7006 times · Questions

You have decided to sell your business in France and are about to put up the for sale sign. Here are a few tips to help you get ready to sell your business in France and having the information requested by potential buyers.

Ask your accountant for up-to-date sales figures and bilan

Potential buyers are entitled to a copy of your last three years’ loss and profit account - bilan. If you are halfway through a year, it is best to ask for an up-date on sales figures for the ongoing year. This letter will be signed by your accountant to prove that the figures are accurate. You could also ask for a half-year bilan, but this service will be charged by your accountant (ask for a quote first).

Value your business for sale in France

Ask your accountant, notaire and bank manager for a valuation of your business and walls value (if you own the property). This will give you a fair idea of your French business value and how much you can expect to sell if for.

Get a copy of your bail commercial

Bail commercial is the legal contract binding the owner of the building/property to the entrepreneur running the business in the premises. If you currently rent the business premises, the potential buyers of your business will be entitled to a copy of your bail commercial. This will enable them to know who the owner of the building is and when the contract will be up for renewal. If you own the property, get a copy of your compromis de vente.

List the equipment included in your French business sale

Selling a business as a fonds de commerce includes the customer base, the trading name, droit au bail commercial, i.e. property leasehold contract, and equipment needed to run the business. There often are disagreements on what is included or not in the sale. It is therefore best to add a list to the compromise de vente. For instance, a camping site for sale in France might include in the list: ten bungalows, two vans, one golf cart, two lawn mowers, etc.

Get some legal advice to sell your business in France

Selling your business in France will have legal and tax impacts. It is best to talk it through will your accountant, notaire or lawyer and bank manager. Ask them about the procedure, administrative side and impact on your taxes (business and personal). How will the plus-value (Capital Gain) be taxed from an income tax point of you.

Advertise your business for sale in France

Most business owners in France sell their business in France through their local notaire and agent immobilier. Your local Chambre de Commerce may have a business advisor specialised in how to sell a business in France, this would be called transmission-reprise. Each of these advisors may already know people actively looking for a business for sale such as yours, and they will introduce you.

Start Business in France can advise you on the process to sell a business in France via the forum.

Valerie Lemiere: Start Business in France

About the author: Valérie Aston

I've been helping people who want to start or already have a small business set up in France since 2009. After graduating from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, I worked as a senior marketing consultant in the UK and France for various International companies. I worked as a conseillère en création d'entreprises (senior business advisor) for BGE here in France and run this independent business on a daily basis.