More Businesses Selling Themselves to Employees

Tuesday, 6 Mar 2012 | 4:12 PM ET
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When the owner of Dansko, a Philadelphia, Pa.-based shoe company, decided it was time to sell, he didn't go looking for a buyer. Instead, he sold the company to his employees.

Through something called an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, Dansko is now a 100 percent-ESOP company. And that makes Dansko founder Peter Kjellerup very happy.

"It's about the community, and sharing the wealth we create to build a community," he told CNBC.com. "And that builds on an opportunity for people to grow."

According to Michael Keeling, president of ESOP Association, the number of 100 percent-owned ESOPs have grown significantly in the past two years.

More Businesses Selling Themselves to Employees
More and more small businesses are selling their companies to their own employees through Employee Stock Ownership Plans. Tracy Davidson reports.

Ken Baker, CEO of New Age Industries, whose company is 30 percent owned by employees, says "It's a way for shared capitalism. Management and employees work together to share the wealth in the organization."

And Kyle Culberson, a Dansko employee, tells CNBC.com that being an owner in the company you work for makes a real difference in your attitude. "Once employees realize they have a stake in how well the company performs, it matters to them. It gives you an extra boost to do your job, and do it well."

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