Corporate Deadlocks and Conflict Resolution through Contractual Clauses – The Role of the ‘Buy or Sell’ (Shotgun) Clause


In an increasingly dynamic and complex business environment, corporate deadlocks pose a significant challenge to the stability and growth of businesses. Conflicts among partners can arise for a variety of reasons, including disagreements over the company’s strategic direction, profit distribution, reinvestments in the business, and others.

When unresolved, these conflicts have the potential to paralyze the company’s operations, affect the organizational climate, and, in extreme cases, lead to the dissolution of the partnership. Given this reality, the prevention and effective resolution of corporate disputes are indispensable. One of the most efficient tools for managing and resolving these conflicts is the adoption of specific contractual clauses in partnership agreements, among which the “buy or sell” clause, commonly known as “shotgun,” stands out.

The ‘Buy or Sell’ (Shotgun) Clause

The “buy or sell,” or “shotgun,” clause is a contractual mechanism designed to resolve deadlocks between partners quickly and effectively. This clause allows, in the case of irreconcilable disagreement, one partner to offer to buy the other’s stake at a price they themselves stipulate. The receiving partner then has two options: accept to sell their stake at the offered price or buy the offering partner’s stake at the same price. This mechanism ensures that the offer is fair, as the partner making it must be prepared to become either a buyer or seller, depending on the other’s decision.

Advantages of the ‘Buy or Sell’ Clause

Quick Conflict Resolution: Unlike judicial or arbitration processes, which can extend for months or years, the “shotgun” clause offers a quick solution to corporate deadlock.

Fair Valuation: The mechanism encourages the offering partner to stipulate a fair price since they may end up being the seller.

Prevention of Prolonged Litigation: By establishing a clear and previously agreed method of conflict resolution, this clause helps to avoid prolonged and costly legal disputes.

Business Continuity: Allows the company to continue operating while the conflict is definitively resolved between the partners.

Challenges and Considerations

Although the “buy or sell” clause is a relevant tool, partners must carefully consider its implementation. The application of this clause can lead to the exit of a partner essential to the business, impacting the operation and value of the company. Additionally, determining a fair price is crucial; company valuation methods should be discussed and agreed upon beforehand.


Corporate deadlocks pose significant risks to the health and growth of companies. The “buy or sell” clause emerges as an effective mechanism for resolving these conflicts, promoting a quick and fair solution. However, its implementation requires careful analysis and strategic planning to ensure that the interests of the company and all partners are protected. The adoption of contractual clauses like the “shotgun” reflects the importance of solid corporate governance and proactivity in conflict management, key elements for the success and longevity of businesses in the contemporary landscape.


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