Except as provided in divisions (A) to (D) of this section, no manufacturer or distributor shall cancel or fail to renew a franchise or substantially change a sales area or territory without the prior consent of the other party for other than just cause and without at least sixty days' written notice to the other party setting forth the reasons for such cancellation, failure to renew, or substantial change.
(A) Neither party shall be required to give to the other party such notice if any of the following events occur:
(1) The filing of a petition in bankruptcy or an assignment for the benefit of creditors by the other party;
(2) The filing of an involuntary petition in bankruptcy against either party, which petition is not dismissed within thirty days;
(3) The cancellation, revocation, or suspension for more than thirty days of any permit required to be held by either party to authorize the handling of alcoholic beverages.
The occurrence of any one of the foregoing events shall constitute just cause for cancellation or failure to renew a franchise or substantially changing a sales area or territory without the prior consent of the other party.
(B) The occurrence of any of the following events shall not constitute just cause for cancellation of or failure to renew a franchise or substantially changing a sales area or territory without the prior consent of the other party:
(1) The failure or refusal on the part of either party to engage in any act or practice which would result in a violation of any federal law or regulation or any law or rule of this state;
(2) The restructuring, other than in bankruptcy proceedings, of a manufacturer's business organization;
(3) A unilateral alteration of the franchise by a manufacturer for a reason unrelated to any breach of the franchise or violation of sections 1333.82 to 1333.86 of the Revised Code by the distributor;
(4) A manufacturer's sale, assignment, or other transfer of the manufacturer's product or brand to another manufacturer over which it exercises control.
(C) If a manufacturer or distributor cancels or fails to renew a franchise, the distributor shall sell to the manufacturer and the manufacturer shall purchase from the distributor all of the distributor's inventory of the manufacturer's products and sales aids at the laid-in cost to the distributor including freight and cartage, provided that upon payment therefor the distributor shall transfer to the manufacturer good title to all such property free of liens and encumbrances.
(D) If a successor manufacturer acquires all or substantially all of the stock or assets of another manufacturer through merger or acquisition or acquires or is the assignee of a particular product or brand of alcoholic beverage from another manufacturer, the successor manufacturer, within ninety days of the date of the merger, acquisition, purchase, or assignment, may give written notice of termination, nonrenewal, or renewal of the franchise to a distributor of the acquired product or brand. Any notice of termination or nonrenewal of the franchise to a distributor of the acquired product or brand shall be received at the distributor's principal place of business within the ninety-day period. If notice is not received within this ninety-day period, a franchise relationship is established between the parties. If the successor manufacturer complies with the provisions of this division, just cause or consent of the distributor shall not be required for the termination or nonrenewal. Upon termination or nonrenewal of a franchise pursuant to this division, the distributor shall sell and the successor manufacturer shall repurchase the distributor's inventory of the terminated or nonrenewed product or brand as set forth in division (C) of this section, and the successor manufacturer also shall compensate the distributor for the diminished value of the distributor's business that is directly related to the sale of the product or brand terminated or not renewed by the successor manufacturer. The value of the distributor's business that is directly related to the sale of the terminated or nonrenewed product or brand shall include, but shall not be limited to, the appraised market value of those assets of the distributor principally devoted to the sale of the terminated or nonrenewed product or brand and the goodwill associated with that product or brand.
Effective Date: 11-09-1994