ESOPs - Characteristics of a Good Candidate
Presented by Keith Apton, Managing Director, Wealth Management, UBS Financial Services
Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) are flexible vehicles that offer a variety of advantages to successful business owners. ESOPs provide a unique way for business owners to diversify their risk on a tax-advantaged basis, while simultaneously rewarding loyal employees. An ESOP can be structured to allow the owner to cash out some of his or her equity in the company while still retaining operational control, if so desired. At the same time, the company itself benefits from tax savings and access to a unique corporate financing strategy.
Is your company a good candidate? A company with several “Yes” answers to the following questions may be a potentially strong ESOP candidate:
- Is your company profitable?
- Does your company have a minimum of 20 employees or an annual payroll of at least $1 million?
- Does your company have moderate to significant debt capacity?
- Is your company’s enterprise value greater than $5 million?
- Did your company have strong earnings and/or cash flow over the previous two years?
- Is your company experiencing steady and controlled growth?
- Does your company have a strong executive team that would remain in place after the active shareholders left?
- Would your company benefit from significant corporate income tax savings?
- Does your company currently make contributions to an employee benefit plan? (i.e., profit sharing or 401(k) plan)
- Would the current executive team be incentivized by equity-based compensation?
- Would the selling shareholders like to participate in the future growth of the company after the sale?
Keith Apton has nearly 16 years of experience in the financial services industry with an extensive background in corporate finance. As a founding partner of the Capital ESOP Group at UBS, Keith leverages the resources and intellectual capital of the firm to assist his clients and their families in creating personalized financial solutions. Prior to joining UBS in 2009, Keith was an advisor at Morgan Stanley where he was an integral member of the team handling all of the firm’s ESOP transactions. Keith’s process entails a disciplined approach to help small-to-middle market business owners with sell-side advisory solutions and post-sale financial planning including holistic wealth management, tax and estate planning. Keith is an authored and nationally recognized leader on §1042 Qualified Replacement Property Rollovers.
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