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Corporate Finance Terms Every Nigerian Lawyer Should Know

Last Updated on January 28, 2024


Importance of understanding corporate finance terms for Nigerian lawyers

Corporate finance terms are crucial for Nigerian lawyers as they deal with business transactions regularly.

Understanding these terms ensures that lawyers can effectively advise clients on financial matters.

Without knowledge of corporate finance terms, lawyers may struggle to comprehend complex financial documents and contracts.

Moreover, understanding these terms enhances a lawyer’s ability to negotiate favorable deals for their clients.

Lawyers who possess a grasp of corporate finance terms can effectively protect their clients’ financial interests.

In an increasingly globalized and competitive market, Nigerian lawyers must stay up-to-date with financial jargon.

This knowledge allows lawyers to navigate the complexities of corporate finance and remain valuable to their clients.

A solid understanding of corporate finance terms enables lawyers to identify potential financial risks and protect against them.

Additionally, lawyers who understand these terms can assist clients in making informed financial decisions.

By familiarizing themselves with corporate finance terms, lawyers can contribute to the growth and success of Nigerian businesses.

In summary, comprehending corporate finance terms is crucial for Nigerian lawyers as it enables them to provide effective legal counsel in financial matters.

Common Corporate Finance Terms


  • Capital refers to the financial resources that a company uses to carry out its operations.

  • There are two types of capital: equity capital and debt capital.


  • Equity represents ownership interests in a company.

  • In corporate finance, equity refers to the shares of stock issued by a company.

  • Equity holders have voting rights and are entitled to a share of the company’s profits.

  • Equity financing involves raising funds by selling shares of stock.

  • Equity is important for providing a company with long-term capital.

  • Equity investors take on more risk but also have the potential for higher returns.


  • Debt refers to borrowed funds that a company must repay over time, usually with interest.

  • Debt financing involves raising funds by issuing loans or bonds.

  • Debt holders are creditors of the company and have a legal claim to the company’s assets.

  • Debt has fixed repayment terms and is considered a lower-risk form of financing.

  • Interest payments on debt are tax-deductible, providing a tax advantage for the company.


  • Securities are financial instruments that represent ownership interests or debts of a company.

  • Common types of securities include stocks, bonds, and derivatives.

  • Stocks represent ownership in a company, while bonds represent a company’s debt obligations.

  • Derivatives are financial contracts whose value is based on an underlying asset or index.

  • Securities can be bought and sold in financial markets, providing liquidity for investors.

  • Securities play a crucial role in raising capital and facilitating investment in corporate finance.

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Terms


Definition and legal requirements for mergers in Nigeria

A merger refers to the combination of two or more companies into a single entity. In Nigeria, mergers are governed by the Companies and

Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and require the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

The legal requirements for a merger in Nigeria include obtaining the approval of the respective boards of directors, consenting to the merger by a special resolution of the shareholders.

A notice of the proposed merger must also be published in at least two national newspapers.


Overview of the acquisition process and legal considerations.

An acquisition refers to the purchase of a company, either through a negotiated deal or a hostile takeover.

The acquisition process involves various legal considerations, including conducting due diligence, negotiating terms, obtaining regulatory approvals, and executing the necessary agreements.

In Nigeria, acquisitions are subject to the SEC’s regulations, as well as the provisions of CAMA and other relevant laws.

Companies involved in an acquisition must comply with disclosure requirements, such as providing information about the acquired company’s financials, assets, liabilities, and potential risks.

Due Diligence

Importance of conducting due diligence and its role in M&A deals.

Due diligence is a critical step in the M&A process that involves conducting a comprehensive investigation and analysis of a target company’s legal, financial, and operational aspects.

It allows the acquirer to evaluate the risks and benefits associated with the deal.

Conducting due diligence helps identify any legal, financial, or operational issues that may affect the value or viability of the target company.

It enables the acquirer to make informed decisions, negotiate effectively, and mitigate potential risks.

Different types of due diligence are performed, such as legal due diligence, financial due diligence, and operational due diligence.

Legal due diligence focuses on assessing the target company’s legal compliance, contracts, intellectual property rights, and potential litigation risks.

Financial due diligence involves reviewing the target company’s financial statements, tax obligations, assets, and liabilities to assess its financial health and identify any discrepancies or hidden liabilities.

Operational due diligence examines the target company’s operations, including its business processes, supply chain, and customer relationships.

In short, understanding the terminology related to mergers and acquisitions in corporate finance is crucial for Nigerian lawyers involved in advising clients on these matters.

From the legal requirements for mergers and acquisitions in Nigeria to the importance of conducting due diligence, these terms play a vital role in ensuring successful and compliant M&A transactions in the country.

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Valuation Terms


Lawyers dealing with corporate finance matters need to grasp this concept and the various techniques used to ascertain a company’s value.

These techniques include income-based methods, asset-based methods, and market-based methods.

Discounted Cash Flow (DCF)

One of the cornerstones of corporate finance, DCF, deserves special attention.

Lawyers should understand that the DCF method involves estimating a company’s value by forecasting its future cash flows and discounting them to present value.

This technique is invaluable in situations where a company’s cash flows are the primary driver of its value.

Lawyers often use DCF to evaluate the potential acquisition or sale of a business, assess the feasibility of projects, or determine the value of intangible assets.

Market Multiple Approach

The market multiple approach, another crucial valuation method, compares a company to similar publicly-traded companies.

Lawyers should appreciate that this approach provides a valuable market perspective on valuation.

By analyzing various multiples like Price-to-Earnings (P/E), Price-to-Sales (P/S), or Enterprise Value-to-EBITDA, lawyers can gauge whether a company is overvalued or undervalued relative to its industry peers.

Understanding these valuation terms equips Nigerian lawyers with essential tools for navigating the intricacies of corporate finance.

Whether representing clients in mergers and acquisitions, financial disputes, or investment decisions, a solid grasp of valuation is indispensable.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into these valuation concepts to provide Nigerian lawyers with a comprehensive understanding of their practical applications and implications in the legal landscape.

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Corporate Governance Terms

Board of Directors

The board of directors in Nigerian companies is responsible for the composition and responsibilities.

Shareholder Rights

  1. Shareholder rights play a significant role in corporate governance and are of great importance.

  2. Shareholders have the right to vote, elect directors, and approve major corporate actions.

  3. They also have the right to receive dividends and participate in the company’s profits.

  4. Shareholders can access information about the company and its financial performance.

  5. They have the right to inspect corporate records and file lawsuits against the company if necessary.

  6. Shareholders also have the right to sell or transfer their shares in the company.

  7. These rights give shareholders the power to influence corporate decisions and protect their interests.

  8. Shareholder rights are essential for ensuring transparency, accountability, and fairness in corporate governance.

  9. They promote good governance practices and prevent any abuse of power by the board of directors.

  10. Shareholders can exercise their rights through voting at general meetings and engaging in shareholder activism.

  11. Effective shareholder engagement is crucial for maintaining a healthy corporate governance framework.

Ina nutshell, understanding corporate governance terms is essential for Nigerian lawyers involved in corporate finance.

The composition and responsibilities of the board of directors in Nigerian companies determine the overall governance structure.

Shareholder rights are crucial for ensuring transparency, accountability, and fairness in corporate decision-making.

Nigerian lawyers should be well-versed in these terms to protect the interests of their clients and promote good governance practices in the corporate sector.

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Corporate Restructuring Terms


Definition: Restructuring refers to the process of changing the financial, operational, or legal structure of a company.

Types of corporate restructuring

  • Mergers and Acquisitions: Combining two or more companies to form a new entity.

  • Spin-offs: Creating a new company by separating a division or subsidiary from the parent company.

  • Divestitures: Selling off a portion of the business or assets.

  • Joint Ventures: Forming a partnership with another company to pursue a specific project.


Explanation of bankruptcy proceedings

Bankruptcy refers to a legal process in which a company is unable to repay its debts.

Bankruptcy proceedings

  1. Liquidation of assets to repay creditors.

  2. Reorganization of the company to continue operations and repay debts.

  3. Repayment plan for individuals and small businesses to settle their debts.

Implications for companies

  • Loss of control: Management may be replaced by a restructuring team or bankruptcy trustee.

  • Debt restructuring: Existing debts may be reorganized to reduce the financial burden on the company.

  • Impact on stakeholders: Shareholders, employees, and creditors may experience financial losses.

  • Potential for turnaround: Bankruptcy can offer an opportunity for companies to restructure and become profitable.

In the world of corporate finance, it is essential for Nigerian lawyers to be familiar with various terms and concepts related to corporate restructuring.

This section will cover two important terms in corporate restructuring: restructuring and bankruptcy.

Restructuring refers to the process of changing the financial, operational, or legal structure of a company.

It can involve a range of activities aimed at improving a company’s financial performance, reducing debt, or focusing on core operations.

There are several types of corporate restructuring, including mergers and acquisitions, spin-offs, divestitures, and joint ventures.

Mergers and acquisitions involve combining two or more companies to form a new entity.

This can result in economies of scale, increased market share, or access to new technologies.

Spin-offs, on the other hand, involve creating a new company by separating a division or subsidiary from the parent company. This allows for greater focus on specific business lines or markets.

Divestitures involve selling off a portion of the business or assets. This can be done to raise capital, streamline operations, or exit non-core businesses.

Joint ventures involve forming a partnership with another company to pursue a specific project or enter a new market. This allows companies to share risks, resources, and expertise.

Bankruptcy, on the other hand, refers to a legal process in which a company is unable to repay its debts.

Read: The ABCs of Corporate Finance in Nigeria: A Primer


Recap of the importance of understanding corporate finance terms for Nigerian lawyers

Corporate finance terms are crucial for Nigerian lawyers as they deal with legal matters in the corporate world.

Having a solid understanding of these terms enhances their ability to provide effective legal advice and representation.

Encouragement for Nigerian lawyers to deepen their knowledge in corporate finance

Nigerian lawyers should continue to educate themselves on corporate finance concepts to stay relevant in today’s dynamic business environment.

This knowledge will enable them to navigate complex financial transactions and better serve their clients’ needs.

To sum it up, Nigerian lawyers must recognize the significance of understanding corporate finance terms.

This understanding empowers them to deliver exceptional legal services and enables them to maximize their value in the corporate world.

By continuously expanding their knowledge in this area, Nigerian lawyers can position themselves as indispensable advisors to their clients, assisting them in making informed decisions and achieving their business goals.

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