Franchise and Distribution
"This 11-lawyer team is based in Minneapolis and assists a range of clients, from startups to major multinational franchisors. In addition to its expertise in franchise transaction work, the group has significant skill in litigation and arbitration, and has continued to expand in the international market, representing US companies selling master franchises overseas."
- From Chambers USA 2010
Attorneys in the Franchise and Distribution practice group use our deep industry experience to help clients gain an edge over their competitors. Our clients range from sophisticated multinationals to start-up franchisors.
Our knowledgeable team assists clients with a wide range of franchising issues – everything from questions about the benefits and disadvantages of franchising, to preparation and registration of franchise documents, to counseling on franchise relationship issues. The success we achieve for our clients is based on our dedication to quality and timely legal service. Our clients frequently comment on how refreshing it is to work with attorneys who respond quickly to questions and requests and have the experience to answer many inquiries without extensive research.
With 35 years of experience in franchising, we bring to our clients extensive knowledge not only of the law, but also of business issues inherent in franchising. Over the years, these businesses have included full service and quick service restaurants, service businesses such as dental offices, home inspection services, travel services, real estate services, and weight loss clinics, a variety of retail store concepts, hotels and Internet-based businesses. Our attorneys have served on the Board of Directors for the International Franchise Association (IFA) and the Governing Committee of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising. We are committed to building industry knowledge beyond the legal requirements and have contributed over 100 articles and columns on franchise law and industry issues.
One of our franchisor clients wanted to implement a new program in its system. While the program was not provided for in the existing franchise agreements, the franchisor wanted all franchisees to participate in, and pay all fees associated with, the program. We assisted the client in structuring the program so as to fall within the provisions of the existing franchise agreements. When the fees associated with the program were nevertheless challenged by nearly two dozen franchisees, our transaction and litigation groups worked together to develop a strategy that ultimately led to the dismissal of the claims of more than half the franchisees, and settlement with the remaining franchisees without any change in the program or program fees.
Negotiation of New Financing Arrangements
One of three owners of a franchise system Larkin Hoffman represented wanted to “cash out.” Larkin Hoffman first assisted in negotiating an agreement with one owner to sell his interest, then negotiated the venture capital financing that redeemed that shareholder. Two years later, the team assisted the franchisor in simultaneously closing three transactions to refinance the venture capital financing with bank financing and equity.
Franchisor Saves Market, Protects Customer List From Competitor
A franchisor client contacted Larkin Hoffman after it received a letter from one of its largest multi-unit franchisees, indicating they were closing all their stores, and demanding a six figure payment to protect from having more than 10,000 customer names and information delivered to a competitor. On one day’s notice, we obtained an injunction, prohibiting disclosure of the confidential information. That injunction led to the client taking over the entire business.