An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is a popular way of transferring the company into employee hands, according to Carl Oliveri, partner-in-charge of construction practice at Grassi & Co. An ESOP, a qualified retirement plan, effectively creates an internal market for the company’s stock, allowing the existing owners to “cash out.” The plan allows for tax savings, but, perhaps more importantly, it usually improves employee “retention, motivation and overall profitability,” he said.

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