Le pacte d'actionnaires dans l'environnement sociétaire

Abstract : Shareholders' agreement falls into a form of unilateral dependence to the companyagreement that is reminiscent of the legal relationship between the incidental and itsprincipal.Indeed, although it is fundamentally separate from the company agreement, which itsupplements, any agreement concluded by certain shareholders apart from the articles ofassociation, in order to organise their inter-individual shareholders relationships, is,nevertheless, necessarily based on and permitted by the company agreement. Thus, thecontractual dependency of the shareholders' agreement to the company agreementmanifests itself, in the most obvious way, through the obsoleteness of the shareholders'agreement caused by the termination of the company agreement or by the loss ofshareholder status by a partner.Therefore, by analogy with the rule according to which the incidental is inclined to yield to theprincipal, such kinship to the quality of accessory to the company agreement justifies the factthat the shareholders' agreement would be under the influence of the legal framework towhich the company's memorandum and articles of association are submitted, that is to saycorporate law and, in particular, corporate law and order.This dependence to the company agreement, which is in essence common to allshareholders' agreements due to their material object and cause, turns out to be flexible. Itrests indeed on different connecting factors to the company agreement, such as using thevoting right, shareholding or shareholder status of partners, which imprint, according to howdeep they work into the company foundation, structure or functioning, different degrees ofdependence in the relationship between the shareholders' agreement and the companyagreement.In spite of the heterogenic regime of the shareholders' agreements, it is possible to outline, inrespect to this type of accessory status to the company agreement, a crucial tendency thatleads, in positive law, agreements-related case law. This guideline lies in the variability of thehold on shareholders' agreements regime by the rules that frame the company'smemorandum and articles of association.Indeed, case law proves to be, generally speaking and beyond casuistry, consistentwith this proportional influence of the company environment to the degree of dependenceeach type of shareholders' agreement is subject to, according to the factor connecting it tothe company agreement. The shareholders' agreements that show a strong dependence tothe company agreement are given a leeway commensurate with the one the company'smemorandum and articles of association benefit from regarding voting right or loss ofshareholder status arrangements. By contrast, the moderately dependant shareholders'agreements, organising transfer or acquisition of shares, are more widely released from therestrictions that govern the company's articles of association regarding the principle of freetransferability of shares. Furthermore, the influence on shareholders' agreements of someother principles of corporate law and order, such as the leonine clause prohibition or theexpertise of Article 1843-4 of the French Civil Code, remain uncertain in positive law.However, case law tends to recognize the distinctive identity of these rules and,consequently, to clear them from any imperative property beyond the frame of therelationships that the shareholders have collectively with the company.
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Caroline Leroy. Le pacte d'actionnaires dans l'environnement sociétaire. Droit. Université Paris-Est, 2010. Français. ⟨NNT : 2010PEST2006⟩. ⟨tel-00675666⟩

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