The method chosen to transfer ownership of a business for sale is one of the most important factors to consider as a business owner. And the reason for its importance is related to the wide differences in the amount of cash received (net of taxes) by the business owner across the various methods of transfer or sale. An ESOP or Employee Stock Ownership Plan is one method of ownership transfer or sale many business owners consider when they decide it’s time to retire. That said, let’s explore the ESOP as a potential method of transfer or sale from both the business owner’s and employees’ perspectives.
During the initial negotiations of a business sale, one of the primary issues is whether to structure the sale as an asset sale or a stock sale. Typically the seller and the buyer have opposing preferences in this regard. The seller generally prefers a stock sale; while the buyer generally prefers an asset sale.
As I meet with entrepreneurs, I’m often asked the same question: “When is the best time for me to sell my business?” The answer to this question is not the same for every business owner, for many reasons.