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ESOPs Make Selling Your Company to Employees Possible…and Advantageous!

by Brian Bornino

Most business owners are proud of the business they built.  They care about their company’s legacy and its ability to continue after they retire.  They care about the employees who have helped the employees that built the company.  In many cases, a business is truly an entrepreneur’s “baby”.

So, when we discuss the issue of selling an entrepreneur’s business (as we frequently do), it is an understandably emotional topic.  A common (if not pervasive) theme we hear is that the entrepreneur does not want to sell their company to a hated competitor and rather, would love the opportunity to sell their business to the employees who helped it grow and thrive…if only this were economically possible.  Well, through an employee stock ownership plan (“ESOP”), it may be possible.

Although ESOPs are rapidly growing in popularity (there are about 11,000 in the United States), I have no idea why they aren’t more popular.  Whenever we discuss ESOPs with clients and prospective clients, the feedback is almost always positive.  We have worked with hundreds of clients that have installed ESOPs and virtually every one of them is thrilled with the ESOP.  So, we are trying to spread the good word about ESOPs!  Some of the amazing advantages that an ESOP can provide include:

  • Sell your company easily, quickly, and privately…and receive fair market value
  • Use an ESOP to create an income tax-free company
  • Reward and motivate employees with ownership
  • Can sell ownership all at once, or in pieces
  • Create a powerful ownership succession plan
  • Lock in low capital gains tax rates on the sale, and perhaps even eliminate gains tax on the sale

We will discuss the advantages of ESOPs in an upcoming webinar, so please feel free to join us.  Also, please let us know if you have an ESOP success story you’d like to share, or you’d like to talk with us about ESOPs privately.

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