John E. Berg

A firm shareholder, John counsels buyers and sellers on effectively structuring and documenting transactions involving business combinations, purchases and sales, and financing. John has earned his clients’ trust as a business advisor because he approaches their legal issues with a nuanced understanding of a business owner’s objectives and a comprehensive knowledge of financing sources and techniques a complex transaction demands.

John leads the firm’s Multi-Unit Succession and Transition (MUST®) group, working with multi-unit retail business owners to help them solve the unique legal challenges in structuring their exit plans. The process combines his industry experience and business insight with the firm’s strengths in the areas of taxation, estate planning, corporate finance, franchise and mergers and acquisitions to provide targeted and effective exit plans.

John has significant experience in large workout transactions and restructuring of borrowers’ financial obligations. His results-driven approach involves evaluating and managing the tax aspects of complex financial transactions, including multi-tiered financing and complex corporate capitalization structures. His goal is always to find the best solution for his clients, one that will save them money and add value to their businesses. He prides himself on not pointing out the problem but instead finding the solution.

He assists a number of franchisees and independent business owners with their strategic planning and daily operational issues. For these clients he serves essentially as outsourced general counsel. He also represents clients in the resolution of state and federal tax controversies at the examination, appellate and tax court levels.

John works closely with franchisors, lenders and vendors, and is a frequent speaker on exit planning, taxes, and mergers and acquisitions at industry conferences and seminars. He has been honored by Franchise Times as one of franchising’s top 125 “Legal Eagles” (2004-2021), selected as a “Minnesota Super Lawyer” (2006-2021), and nominated to “Who’s Who Legal: Franchise 2020.”.



  • “Sustaining Restaurants Through New Collaborative Relationships,” webinar panelist, Restaurant Finance Week, November 2020
  • “Business Continuity and Succession Planning Webinar,” co-presenter, for Home Instead In-Home Care Services, November 2020
  • “Understanding the Real Cost of Outsourcing Food Delivery,” panel moderator, Food on Demand Conference, April 2019
  • “Business Exit and Succession Planning,” co-presenter, Bridgestone Retail Management Workshop, March 2019
  • “Tax-Efficient Structures After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017,” panelist, Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, November 2018
  • “Graying of a Franchise System: How to Deal with an Aging Franchisee Population,” panelist, 50th Annual IFA Legal Symposium, May 2017



Areas of Practice

Business Concept Growth & Protection
Business Law
Corporate Finance/Mergers and Acquisitions
Multi-Unit Succession and Transition (MUST®)
Tax Planning


Minnesota State Bar
U.S.Tax Court


University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, B.A.
Cornell University – Juris Doctor


Minnesota State Bar Association – Member: Tax Section
American Bar Association – Member: Taxation Section and Franchising Forum
International Franchise Association (IFA)

News & Events

MMB Attorneys Selected for Minnesota’s “Super Lawyers” and “Rising Stars” Listings for 2020



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