Term Sheets in M&A Transactions and PE/VC Investments in India

What is a term sheet in M&A transactions and PE/VC Investments in India? Term sheets are crucial in M&A transactions and PE/VC investments as they outline the fundamental terms and conditions of a proposed deal. They serve as a blueprint, guiding the final agreements and ensuring that both parties have a mutual understanding of the transaction’s key aspects. This document reduces the risk of misunderstandings and disputes later in the process.

Understanding the term sheets for investors is important, as they provide valuable insights into deal structures and potential risks. While term sheets are not legally binding documents, they may carry significant legal implications if breached, underscoring the importance of thorough due diligence and legal scrutiny. By understanding the fundamentals and the legal nuances of term sheets in M&A transactions in India, businesses and investors can navigate the complexities and secure favorable outcomes.

What is a Term Sheet?

A term sheet is essentially a memorandum of understanding that outlines the framework of the deal. It includes key elements such as the investment amount, valuation and other significant terms. Although term sheets are generally non-binding, certain provisions such as confidentiality and exclusivity can be binding.

Term sheets in M&A transactions in India help parties outline their intentions and ensure that both sides are aligned before proceeding with detailed negotiations and due diligence. They provide clarity and prevent misunderstandings that could derail the deal.

On the other side, term sheets in PE/VC investments in India are critical as they define the relationship between the investor and the company, including control rights, board composition and exit strategies. They protect the interests of the PE/VC investors by laying down performance metrics and milestones that the company must achieve.

Key Components of Term Sheets in India

A term sheet in M&A transactions and PE/VC investments in India includes several key components that set the foundation for the final agreement. These components must be meticulously drafted to ensure clarity and protect the interests of all parties involved. The following are the key components of term sheets in India:

Investment Amount

One of the key components of term sheets in India is the amount of investment the investor commits to provide to the target company, determining the financial commitment and ownership stake. For PE/VC investors, this section details how much capital will be introduced and the timeline for disbursement. It ensures both parties have a clear understanding of the financial commitments involved.

Valuation and Pricing

This section outlines the agreed-upon valuation and the pricing mechanism for the transaction. In PE/VC investments, the valuation often determines the amount of equity the investor will receive in exchange for their capital. Accurate valuation is vital as it impacts future negotiations and the eventual deal structure.

Board of Directors

This outlines the composition of the company’s board post-investment. It includes the number of board seats allocated to the investor and any observer rights. Investors often seek board representation to influence key decisions and monitor the company’s progress. The Companies Act, 2013, provides guidelines on board composition and directors’ duties.

Voting Rights

Voting rights define the investor’s ability to influence key decisions within the company. This includes voting on major corporate actions, board elections and other significant matters. Investors often seek enhanced voting rights to protect their interests. Compliance with the Companies Act, 2013, is necessary for ensuring that voting rights are appropriately structured.

Rights and Obligations of Parties

The term sheet defines the rights and obligations of both the investor and the company. For the investor, this may include board representation, voting rights and information rights. For the company, it typically involves commitments to meet certain performance milestones and provide regular updates on financial and operational performance. These provisions ensure that both parties are aligned on their roles and responsibilities.


The no-shop clause prevents the company from seeking or negotiating with other potential investors for a specified period. This exclusivity ensures that the investor’s time and resources invested in due diligence and negotiations are protected. The clause is binding and critical for maintaining the integrity of the investment process.


Confidentiality clauses ensure that sensitive information disclosed during negotiations remains protected. Both parties agree not to disclose any proprietary or confidential information to third parties. This is a binding provision in most term sheets, safeguarding the privacy and competitive advantage of both the investor and the company.

Liquidation/Exit Preference

Liquidation preference determines the order of payments to investors in the event of a liquidation or sale of the company. It specifies that investors will be paid before other shareholders. This clause is vital for protecting the investor’s capital and ensuring a return on investment.

Common Legal Issues and Challenges in M&A Transactions and PE/VC Investments

M&A transactions and PE/VC investments in India come with legal challenges. Understanding these challenges is crucial for mitigating risks and ensuring a successful transaction.

Due Diligence

The due diligence involves a comprehensive review of the target company’s financials, contracts, legal compliance, intellectual property and litigation history. The challenge lies in thoroughly identifying potential risks and liabilities that could affect the transaction’s value and success. Missing critical information can lead to unforeseen issues post-transaction. Utilize checklists or engage legal experts to ensure all areas are covered comprehensively.

Regulatory Approvals

Obtaining necessary regulatory approvals from bodies like the SEBI and RBI can be time-consuming and complex. Delays or denials can derail the transaction, causing uncertainty and potential financial losses. Start the regulatory approval process early and ensure all required documentation is complete and accurate.

Compliance with Securities Laws

Ensuring compliance with securities laws, such as those enforced by SEBI, is crucial to avoid legal penalties and protect investor interests. Non-compliance can lead to severe penalties, reputational damage and legal disputes. Implement strict internal controls and compliance programs to adhere to disclosure requirements, insider trading regulations and shareholder approval processes.

Contractual Obligations

Clearly defining contractual obligations in the term sheet can be challenging but is essential to prevent future disputes. Ambiguities in representations, warranties, indemnities and covenants can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Draft clear and detailed contractual obligations with the help of legal experts. Ensure both parties understand and agree to the terms.

Drafting Effective Term Sheets

Best Practices

  • Use clear and precise language to avoid ambiguities.
  • Include all critical components like valuation, investment amount, control rights, and exit provisions.
  • Ensure compliance with relevant laws such as the Companies Act, 2013 and SEBI regulations.
  • Allow for some flexibility to accommodate changes during negotiations and due diligence.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Avoid vague or ambiguous terms; use precise language.
  • Ensure all critical components are included to prevent incomplete agreements.
  • Strive for simplicity and clarity; avoid overly technical language.
  • Clearly mark provisions like confidentiality and exclusivity as binding.

Legal Counsel and Expert Advice

  • Engage experienced legal counsel who provides valuable insights and ensures the document is comprehensive and legally compliant. Additionally, helps in addressing potential legal issues and complying with regulatory requirements.


Term sheets play a pivotal role in M&A transactions and PE/VC investments in India, serving as foundational documents that outline the key terms and conditions of a proposed deal. These documents provide clarity, guide negotiations, and mitigate risks by establishing mutual understanding between the parties involved. Moreover, navigating the legal landscape surrounding M&A transactions and PE/VC investments in India entails addressing various challenges, including due diligence, regulatory approvals, compliance with securities laws, and contractual obligations. By adhering to best practices, avoiding common mistakes, and seeking expert legal counsel, businesses and investors can streamline the transaction process.

For expert legal assistance in navigating the complexities of M&A transactions, PE/VC investments, and related matters, consult Burgeon Law. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing comprehensive support and crafting meticulously detailed term sheets to ensure clarity, compliance and protection of your interests. Reach out to us today to begin your journey towards seamless transactions and successful partnerships in India’s dynamic business environment.


1. What is a term sheet in M&A transactions in India?

A term sheet in M&A transactions in India is a preliminary document outlining the key terms and conditions of a proposed deal between parties. It lays the foundation for the final agreement. Typically, it includes details such as the Investment, Valuation, voting rights, confidentiality clauses and exclusivity periods.

2. What are the key components of term sheets in India?

The key components of term sheets in India encompass various aspects of the transaction, including valuation, investment amount, control rights, governance structure, exit provisions, confidentiality clauses and conditions precedent. These components help clarify the terms of the transaction and mitigate potential risks.

3. What are the legal implications of term sheets in India?

The legal implications of term sheets in India are significant, as they form the basis for the final agreement between parties. Key legal considerations include binding clauses, confidentiality obligations, representations and warranties and dispute resolution mechanisms. Adhering to legal requirements ensures enforceability and protects the rights of both parties.

4. What role do term sheets play in mitigating risks in M&A transactions and PE/VC investments in India?

Term sheets in M&A transactions in India play a critical role in mitigating risks by clarifying the terms of the transaction, identifying potential issues upfront, and establishing mechanisms for addressing contingencies. They provide a framework for risk management and help parties anticipate and mitigate potential challenges.

5. Can term sheets be modified during negotiations?

Yes, term sheets can be modified during negotiations to accommodate changes in the deal structure, valuation, or other key terms. However, any modifications should be agreed upon by both parties and documented in writing to ensure clarity and enforceability. It’s essential for parties to communicate openly and negotiate in good faith to reach mutually acceptable terms that reflect their respective interests and objectives.

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