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NCEO Reports on the State of the ESOP

On January 4, the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) provided an overview of the results from its first ESOP transaction survey. Between February and September 2015, 240 companies contributed to the survey, which provides a snapshot of key ESOP design details.  Highlights reported by the NCEO include:

  • While the number of initial transactions involving 100% of a company’s shares increased significantly when comparing pre-2011 transactions to post-2010 transactions (from 38% to 56%), the number of initial transactions for a minority of shares decreased after 2010 (from 44% to 40%).
  • The responding companies reported a median time of six months for completing a transaction.
  • 72% of respondents reported leveraged transactions. For 60% of these transactions, loans funded the entire transaction.
  • 46% of respondents reported transactions using at least some seller financing.
  • 63% of respondents did not utilize the special tax treatment involving deferral of shareholder gains when selling stock to an ESOP (the Section 1042 rollover).

The NCEO cautions that developments in the ESOP field (including developments in appraisal standards, fiduciary scrutiny, and transaction structures) create different environments for the later transactions in the survey and that the survey represents a minority of all ESOP transactions.

However, the survey still provides a useful overview of key ESOP design features, and future versions of the survey will be helpful in tracking long-term trends in the design and execution of ESOP transactions.

You can find the NCEO’s survey highlights at here.

About the Author

Andrew Bezouska is an attorney practicing out of our Madison office. He is a member of the Employee Benefits, Labor & Employment and Tax & Tax Advocacy practice groups. Contact Andrew by email or by phone at 608.252.9200.


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