Accountants + Business Advisors

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Apple Growth Partners has a dedicated team focused on valuations, fairness opinions, feasibility analysis and advisory activities for existing or organizations pursuing Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs).  We work with 60+ ESOPs annually and serve as an advisor for several transactions each year. We strive to build effective relationships to better meet client’s needs.

ESOP Valuations

Valuations are required at least annually for ESOP companies whose stock is not actively traded on a public market. We take a hands-on approach striving to visit our clients every year and developing a comprehensive understanding of the business.  We have completed thousands of valuation engagements in a variety of industries for firms with market capitalizations ranging from $2 to $400 million. We conduct both a qualitative and quantitative analysis of your business, its industry, management, competition, financial performance, operating conditions and future prospects. Our opinion of value is then well documented in our detailed reports.

Fairness Opinions

Valuations and Fairness Opinions are often required for the Trustee for most significant transactions in ESOP company shares.  We work with the ESOP Trustee as financial advisor for ESOP transactions and provide an independent, objective valuation and fairness opinion. Further, through our significant experience with ESOP transactions, we help ESOP Trustee’s understand deal specific matters and valuation issues of a potential transaction.



Feasibility Analysis

Why an ESOP vs. the sale of business? Establishing a succession plan, business continuity, retirement planning and enhancing employee motivation are all reasons for considering an ESOP. We can guide you through a process to determine not only if an ESOP is feasible, but if it fits your goals. We advise on valuation, financing, plan design (participant eligibility, vesting schedules, distributions, etc.), and management succession, while helping you adhere to applicable laws and regulations. Our team collaborates with financial institutions, legal representatives and plan trustees whose services are required in the process.

ESOP Advisory Services

Our clients are more than just another valuation. We want to see our clients succeed; we bring knowledge of many aspects of ESOPs including:

  • Tax planning and advantages on the structure of the ESOP
  • Advise on repurchase planning
  • Assistance with ongoing financing activities
  • Advise on acquisitions
  • Changes in government policies and regulations affecting ESOPs
  • Design of key management incentives such as phantom stock, SARs or SERPs
  • Consideration or optimization of S corporation status
  • Internal trustee coaching



ESOP Commitment

AGP professionals actively support and participate in the ESOP community. We are active members in the Ohio Employee Ownership Center, the ESOP Association and the National Center for Employee Ownership. We are frequent speakers on ESOP related topics on a local, regional and national level.

Want to Learn More?

If you’re ready to discuss how an ESOP can benefit your company and succession plan, contact our dedicated team of experts with 75+ combined years of experience.


Matt Silla, ASA, CFA

Senior Manager



Additional ESOP Team Members:

  • Jason Bogniard, MBA, ASA, CVA, EA | Principal
  • Kimberly Robison | Senior Associate
  • Bethany Dria | Senior Associate
  • Ben Grimaldi | Associate

Latest ESOP Articles:


Upcoming Events | Presentations:


Past ESOP Presentations: