What is an Asset Sale in Business?

Asset Sale – Meaning and Definition

An asset sale occurs if a bank or another company sells its debts to a third party. It is a form of a non-resource sale for various reasons, including mitigating the risk associated with assets, obtaining cash flows or liquidation needs. Sales of assets also affect the net revenue of a company. Let us walk through the definition of the asset sale and its benefits among business traders.


An asset sale includes the selling of a property to another business, i.e. to the purchaser. This selling usually comprises of tangible assets like pieces of equipment and inventories, as well as intangible assets like the goodwill of a business, customer lists, and intellectual property. This article explains how business assets are traded and asset sells are operated.

An asset sale is only accomplished if a purchaser acquires the ownership of a business. In addition to contractual agreements, the purchaser can join the new company or use an existing business to obtain the selected property. It ensures that the seller selling the property maintains the company ownership and has to compensate for all current obligations and expenses before earning net cash.

Asset sales include a real asset of a company–usually a combination of assets–in contrast to stock shares. A complex transaction can be carried out from an accounting point of view. The receivable accounts are held on a balance sheet as an asset.

Asset sales are considered as such because, after compensation, the seller gives the purchaser possession of the property. After the transaction, the purchaser can not use the property. If this feature is allowed, the transaction is considered as financing — usually a loan. The company would not have the desired result of increasing free cash flows.

Comparison For Success: Asset Sales vs. Share Sales

Asset Sale VS. Share Sale

Asset sales and share sales are two very different types of sales. Asset sales is commonly associated with property, land, buildings, investments and cash. These are known as asset sales. On the other hand, share sales are defined as a stock sale. Asset sales and share sales are used in different ways.

Asset Sale example
For example, asset sales can be used to sell all types of business as opposed to stock sales which can only be used for incorporated businesses. These types of sales differ in many ways, however they do posses some similarities. For an asset sale, the seller has some degree of control over what is being sold. For example, you can retain the rights to a business name as well as specific assets. In a share sale, the liabilities are completely sold in addition to the rest of the business.

The original owner of an asset sale may still be responsible for liabilities. The main different between an asset sale and a share sale comes down to liability. The liability of each type differs. In terms of tax exemptions, a share sale may be exempt from taxes if able to write off with capital gains. This is one of the many minute differences between asset sales and share sales. Asset sales and share sales are meant to be taken seriously as they can have a significant impact on the owners and their liability agreements. It is recommended that sellers of an asset sale or a share sale receive advice from accountant or professional on the implications of taxes. This is the best way to ensure you receive the most accurate information for your specific business type.

Sole ownership for asset sales are defined in a few main ways. There is no proper and clear distinction between personal and business assets when it comes to asset sales. As a result of this, problems often occur during the transferring process. Transferring tangible assets can be difficult in this type of situation. However, this is why ensuring the asset sales are clearly outlined can help to avoid future complications. A prime example of this is home businesses. If a business has been entirely operated out of an owner’s home, relinquishing total assets can often present itself as a challenge.

The owner of a home business may also choose to retain other assets such as equipment or vehicles as their own personal assets. Another example of this is with financial consulting. For example, a successful financial consultant may choose to sell their business at a high rate on the basis of their vast client list with reputable clients. However, the preexisting clients may not appreciate or value the skills of the new owner. In this case, clients may choose to work with another financial consultant as a result. These are the main situations in which an asset sale can be difficult without strategic measures in place. By providing strategic measure, both asset sales and share sales are predicted to run smoothly with benefit to all involved.

Special Considerations on asset sale

You retain the legal entity of the company and only sell the assets of the company in assets sales. A company can choose what it is selling in an asset sale. The seller shall remain in the ownership of the business entity while the purchaser purchases any or all of these assets.

In order to purchase the assets along with the contracts and management, the buyer can create a new enterprise or use an existing business. An asset sale poses significantly less risk to a buyer as the seller remains responsible for any liabilities (liability, debt, etc.) and contingent expenses.

Tax benefits for customers

In contrast to a loss of corporate responsibility coverage, asset sales give consumers tax benefits. Asset sales enable purchasers to increase the tax basis for the assets acquired.

By assigning higher value for fast depreciating assets (as equipment) and slowly amortizing assets (like goodwill, which has a life of 15 years), purchasers are able to achieve significant discounts on taxes.

Wrapping up

In this article, we can see that asset sale involves a company that decides to sell its properties, whether they are tangible or intangible. Sales of assets are very common to companies and an asset agreement is required to reduce confusion and potential disputes among the traders.



Igor has been a trader since 2007. Currently, Igor works for several prop trading companies. He is an expert in financial niche, long-term trading, and weekly technical levels. The primary field of Igor's research is the application of machine learning in algorithmic trading. Education: Computer Engineering and Ph.D. in machine learning. Igor regularly publishes trading-related videos on the Fxigor Youtube channel. To contact Igor write on: igor@forex.in.rs

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