The Role of Software Escrow in Mergers and Acquisitions

Written by Jo Rust | Published on April 17, 2023


Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are crucial events in the corporate world, where companies join forces or change hands to create new opportunities, streamline operations, or gain a competitive advantage. With technology playing an increasingly significant role in today's businesses, software and intellectual property have become essential assets in M&A transactions. Software escrow services have emerged as a valuable tool in ensuring the protection and smooth transfer of these assets during the M&A process. This article explores the role of software escrow in mergers and acquisitions, its benefits, and best practices for implementation.


The Importance of Software Escrow in M&A

Software escrow is an arrangement in which the source code and other critical materials of a software application are held by a neutral third-party agent like Codekeeper. This ensures that the software assets are protected and can be accessed by the licensee in specific circumstances, such as the software vendor's insolvency, discontinuation of support, or breach of contract.


In the context of M&A, software escrow plays a vital role in:

Protecting Intellectual Property: Software escrow ensures that the software's source code, documentation, and other essential materials are securely stored and protected, safeguarding the intellectual property of the target company.
Mitigating Risk: M&A transactions often involve uncertainties, such as the financial stability of the software vendor, the continuity of support and maintenance, and potential disputes. Software escrow helps mitigate these risks by providing access to the software assets in predefined circumstances.
Ensuring Business Continuity: Software escrow arrangements can ensure business continuity by providing the acquiring company with access to the source code and other materials necessary to maintain, update, or enhance the software in case the original vendor is unable or unwilling to provide support.
Enhancing Due Diligence: Software escrow arrangements can be used as part of the due diligence process, providing transparency and confidence in the software assets being acquired.

Facilitating Negotiations: A well-structured software escrow agreement can serve as a negotiation tool, ensuring that both parties are aware of their rights and obligations and fostering a sense of trust and confidence in the transaction.

Codekeeper Software Escrow


Best Practices for Implementing Software Escrow in M&A

Engage a Reputable Escrow Agent: Choose a reliable, experienced, and neutral third-party escrow agent like Codekeeper to protect and manage the software assets.
Clearly Define Release Conditions: The escrow agreement should specify the conditions under which the source code and other materials will be released to the acquiring company. These conditions should be aligned with the goals and potential risks of the M&A transaction.
Regularly Update Escrow Materials: The software assets held in escrow should be updated regularly to ensure that the most current version is available in case of a release event.
Customization of Escrow Agreements: Tailor the escrow agreement to meet the specific needs and requirements of the M&A transaction, addressing unique risks and potential scenarios. All of our escrow agreements are customizable to meet your individual needs.
Verify and Validate: Before depositing the software assets into escrow, verify and validate the source code, documentation, and other materials to ensure that they are complete, accurate, and functional. We offer various verification services to our clients.


As technology continues to drive innovation and shape the business landscape, software escrow services have become a vital component of the M&A process. By safeguarding intellectual property, mitigating risks, and ensuring business continuity, software escrow arrangements can provide both buyers and sellers with the confidence and peace of mind needed to navigate complex M&A transactions successfully.


Book a Demo Call today to explore our services and one of our experts will help to find a solution that suits your specific M&A needs. 


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