Business Legal Services

Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs)

Exit your business while transferring ownership to employees.

Transferring shares to employees via an employee ownership trust can be quicker than a sale to a third party, can help retain the company’s ethos and can bring significant tax advantages.

Explore how we can help you transfer shares to an EOT.

Get in touch

Setting up and managing an employee ownership trust

Our specialist equity incentive and corporate law solicitors can help your business by:

Advising on the tax advantages of selling shares to an EOT and the qualifying conditions for tax reliefs

Obtaining clearances in respect of the EOT from HMRC as required

Liaising with your accountants or other valuation advisers regarding the market value of the shares in your company and advising you on how to calculate the purchase price

Liaising with your existing shareholders, including any who don’t intend to sell to the EOT

Working with your employees to explain to them how the employee ownership trust will work, and how they can maximise the advantages of working in an employee-owned business.

Helping you decide how the sale will be funded, whether that’s paid over time out of profits or through some other funding arrangement

Advising on the choice of trustees for the EOT and establishing a corporate trustee if appropriat

Advising on employee representation at trustee level (and whether an employee council will be established)

Advising on and drafting share transfer documents to be signed by the trustee of the EOT and the selling shareholders (including a Share Purchase Agreement, disclosure letters and funding agreements as appropriate)

Advising on changes to the company’s management structure

Completing the share sale to the EOT.

Advising on any post-completion employee share schemes and equity incentive arrangements

Who we help

We support a wide range of UK-based companies that are thinking of selling, either to a third party or to employees. If you feel that selling to an employee ownership trust would be a good option for you, or simply want to understand how they work, get in touch. It’s vital to take good legal advice at the appropriate stage in your formation of an EOT in order to avoid unexpected tax charges, to make sure the sale goes through without a hitch, that you have appropriate trustees in place, and that appropriate clearances are obtained from HMRC.


How an employee ownership trust will benefit your business

Improvement in company productivity and ethos

Research has shown that selling to an employee ownership trust improves both employee and company productivity. It also improves staff morale and can decrease absenteeism.

The risk of changes to the company’s ethos are reduced because there will be no third party taking over the running of the business.

Quicker than a sale to a third party

Selling shares to an EOT can be a quicker and simpler transaction than selling shares to a third party.

Tax savings

Selling to an EOT can bring significant tax savings for selling shareholders.

Selling shareholders can retain some involvement in the business while profits are being generated to pay any deferred consideration.


Testimonials

What our clients say

We rely on Harper James to provide us with support across a full range of service areas, from commercial contracts and employment issues to fundraisings and investments. The team at Harper James are always available to provide us with cost effective, pragmatic and commercially focused advice.
Nick Holzherr CEO, Whisk.com
We are a small company and the process of setting up a company share scheme was pretty daunting. Abby Watson and Harper James Solicitors provided expert advice to ensure we understood the process and drafted all relevant documentation. We were very impressed with the service received and would recommend the firm to others.
Julie Robinson CEO, Move It or Lose It
Harper James provides my small growing business with a scalable, reliable, team-oriented approach to legal advice. Whenever we face a problem, I know that Harper James are there to provide helpful and cost-effective advice, to scope out the options, make clear the costs and risks, and give me the information I need to make decisions.
Bryn Richards CEO, Aeristech
As a University spin-out getting the right team of lawyers to support our emerging business was fundamental and the team are always available to provide us with the invaluable guidance and support we require.
David Hodgson CEO, Amalyst
Harper James is a brilliant example of a company disrupting a traditional industry. Suddenly Solicitors become relevant and accessible for start-ups & small enterprises, with the best in-class knowledge of all major legal areas. I’ve used the business now for a year, and the Enterprise plan has been perfect for budgeting my company’s outgoings, and has given me a piece of mind when tackling key, decisive issues. Thank-you HJS!
Koral Ibrahim Founder & MD, The Ready House
Quick, concise and best of all reasonably priced
Tim Pedley Company Secretary, Biorelate Ltd
Fast, flexible access to specialists.
Derek Moore CEO and Co-Founder, Coffee & TV
Employee Ownership Trusts are  quite a niche area, so while looking for a law firm that could give the correct advice, we were also looking for a team our client would approve of, being lawyers themselves. The price point was also attractive to us as we are  a small business ourselves. As we act as an intermediary between our clients and lawyers, we always want to make sure our clients get the best deal possible whilst getting expert legal advice. Ian and the team at Harper James have been a pleasure to work with.
Kingsley Tedder Founder, Mobius Group
I worked with Nikki on a recent EOT transaction, and it was an absolute pleasure. Nikki had a brilliant understanding of the unique requirements of an EOT transaction. The process ran incredibly smoothly – would highly recommend!
Martin Dean Director, Gravitate Corporate Finance
We rely on Harper James to provide us with support across a full range of service areas, from commercial contracts and employment issues to fundraisings and investments. The team at Harper James are always available to provide us with cost effective, pragmatic and commercially focused advice.
Nick Holzherr CEO, Whisk.com
We are a small company and the process of setting up a company share scheme was pretty daunting. Abby Watson and Harper James Solicitors provided expert advice to ensure we understood the process and drafted all relevant documentation. We were very impressed with the service received and would recommend the firm to others.
Julie Robinson CEO, Move It or Lose It
Harper James provides my small growing business with a scalable, reliable, team-oriented approach to legal advice. Whenever we face a problem, I know that Harper James are there to provide helpful and cost-effective advice, to scope out the options, make clear the costs and risks, and give me the information I need to make decisions.
Bryn Richards CEO, Aeristech
As a University spin-out getting the right team of lawyers to support our emerging business was fundamental and the team are always available to provide us with the invaluable guidance and support we require.
David Hodgson CEO, Amalyst
Harper James is a brilliant example of a company disrupting a traditional industry. Suddenly Solicitors become relevant and accessible for start-ups & small enterprises, with the best in-class knowledge of all major legal areas. I’ve used the business now for a year, and the Enterprise plan has been perfect for budgeting my company’s outgoings, and has given me a piece of mind when tackling key, decisive issues. Thank-you HJS!
Koral Ibrahim Founder & MD, The Ready House
Quick, concise and best of all reasonably priced
Tim Pedley Company Secretary, Biorelate Ltd
Fast, flexible access to specialists.
Derek Moore CEO and Co-Founder, Coffee & TV
Employee Ownership Trusts are  quite a niche area, so while looking for a law firm that could give the correct advice, we were also looking for a team our client would approve of, being lawyers themselves. The price point was also attractive to us as we are  a small business ourselves. As we act as an intermediary between our clients and lawyers, we always want to make sure our clients get the best deal possible whilst getting expert legal advice. Ian and the team at Harper James have been a pleasure to work with.
Kingsley Tedder Founder, Mobius Group
I worked with Nikki on a recent EOT transaction, and it was an absolute pleasure. Nikki had a brilliant understanding of the unique requirements of an EOT transaction. The process ran incredibly smoothly – would highly recommend!
Martin Dean Director, Gravitate Corporate Finance

Why choose Harper James?

We can assist you to understand the benefits and disadvantages of EOTs. Our equity incentive arrangements and corporate specialists have a wealth of experience in setting up and advising on EOT transactions and can provide selling shareholders with the support necessary to progress a transaction as smoothly and swiftly as possible.

Beyond that, we can also provide you with commercial legal advice across a broad range of services, ultimately offering you a fully integrated approach to all the legal support you may need, aligning with your objectives as your business develops. Plus, we have all been recruited from top UK law firms or from large businesses and have advised clients both as external advisors and as in-house corporate counsel.

Find out more about the team below:


Pricing plans

Legal support designed
to fit your business needs

Our three transparent pricing packages are designed to give you the widest possible access to high-quality legal advice, whatever the size and nature of your business:

City

Straightforward access to senior solicitors at a competitive rate.

An affordable solution for businesses needing one-off legal support. Receive ‘City’ partner-level expertise at a fraction of ‘City’ prices.

On-Demand

Providing you with priority access to a dedicated panel of highly experienced solicitors.

Fully account managed quarterly subscription service for businesses with more complex legal needs.




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