Former Employer was acquired and gave me two days to review paperwork
October 17, 2018 9:07 AM   Subscribe

I exercised my options at the last company I worked at. It was a pitiful small amount, so I figured why not. Now the company has been acquired, and I got the paperwork last night. It is a 400 page document! It suggests I get a lawyer to review, but expects a response by tomorrow.

The company acquiring my former employer is publicly traded.

The amount I expect to get from this would be used up in one or two hours of a lawyer's time, so I don't want to go that route, but reading a 400 page document and researching terms will take me more than two business days!

Can they give me such a short notice period? I don't know the terms I need to be searching for around this.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total)
Define "response". What do they want from you by tomorrow?
posted by caek at 9:14 AM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Find out what happens if you don't get back to them by their deadline. Start by reading the cover letter: does it say, "we need your response by..." (which is meaningless), or "this deal will be finalized by..." (which means something might happen whether or not you react). You need to know what they're saying will happen if you don't respond immediately.

If the answer is, "nothing happens; we just really want this done soon," ignore it, and read the document at your leisure. As mentioned, odds are the substantial that the real info is in the first few pages, and the rest is boilerplate with minor changes based on circumstances.

If you do have to reply or lose opportunities, send back a note demanding more time - point out that you cannot possibly be expected to read 400 pages in two days.

If you were legally savvy, you might mention taking them to court over this, but without a better understanding, you can't be sure if you'd be suing for not enough notice, for the money you would've gotten if you picked the other option, or connecting with others for a class action suit for one of those. It's also possible no legal action is available, and it really is "sign now or lose this forever," hence the problem with hinting at legal action.

But you can insist on needing more time even if they have no legal obligation to give it to you; sometimes, they'll reply with, "well, actually, we don't need need them until a week and a half from now; we just wanted to get everything started quickly."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:57 AM on October 17, 2018

A response is "I have to have my lawyer look at it and two days is not enough time to coordinate that. As a result, my response is that I defer. I will get back to you with my acceptance or decline by X date."

Then you can choose to either have a lawyer look at it, or go through it yourself.
posted by juniperesque at 10:58 AM on October 17, 2018

Honestly, you probably have very little leverage over the terms of the acquisition even if you had the time to review them. If I were in your shoes, I would sign the documents and be happy for a few unexpected bucks in your bank account. Delaying the deal for the amount of a few hours of a lawyer's time will probably mean you *lose* money on the deal overall, and probably make a lot of people who are trying to make the deal work frustrated. It is indeed unfair. If you were a large shareholder or a founder, I would have different advice.
posted by tybstar at 12:06 PM on October 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

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