Close quarters create conflicts. Just ask anyone operating a closely held company. No matter how well individuals work together, personal interests often influence company decisions that not everyone agrees with. Unfortunately, such disagreements commonly lead to actions that, intentional or otherwise, amount to shareholder oppression. In many cases, however, these actions are preventable.
Last week we wrote about one specific kind of shareholder oppression known as a squeeze-out. With a squeeze-out, the majority effectively removes the minority's right to benefit as a shareholder, and more or less forces that shareholder to sell its interest at a reduced price back to the majority. Although similar, today we want to discuss a different form of oppression more common to the partnership context known as a "freeze-out."