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Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Apple Growth Partners has a dedicated team focused on valuations, feasibility and advisory activities for organizations pursuing or looking to enhance Employee Stock Ownership Plans.  We manage 60-70 reoccurring ESOP’s annually and complete approximately five new transactions or evaluations each year. We will guide you through the ESOP formation decision, plan design and process and valuation activities.

ESOP Valuations

Valuations are required at least annually for ESOP companies whose stock is not actively traded on a public market. Valuations are also required for private ESOP company stock for most significant transactions.

Our valuators have completed thousands of valuation engagements in a variety of industries for firms with market capitalizations ranging from $2 to $500 million. We conduct both a qualitative and quantitative analysis of your business, its industry, management, competition, financial performance, operating conditions and future prospects.

Feasibility analysis and Fairness Opinions

Why an ESOP vs. the sale of business? Establishing a succession plan, business continuity and retirement planning, financing and enhancing employee motivation are all reasons for forming 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.

We can also work with the ESOP Trustee as financial advisor to help optimize the ESOP transaction and provide the appropriate valuation and fairness opinion.

ESOP Advisory Services

  • Tax planning and advantages on the structure of the ESOP
  • Assistance with ongoing financing activities
  • Assistance with acquisitions
  • Employees’ role in ESOP and education
  • 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

ESOP Commitment

AGP professionals actively support and participate in the ESOP community.  AGP Principal, Dave Gustafson, serves on the Valuation Advisory Committee of the ESOP Association and previously served on the Board of Governors, Annual Planning and Strategic Planning Committees. Gustafson was instrumental in the formation and establishment of the Association’s Ohio Chapter and was recognized by the ESOP Association’s Outstanding Chapter Officer for his efforts. Our team has actively supported and contributed to the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) from its early days. We are proud to be an