Drake Cooper has announced the successful transfer of 100% ownership of the company to its employees via an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). On December 1, CEO Jamie Cooper transferred 100% ownership of the company to its employees retroactively, creating a full year of stock accumulation for 2020.
An ESOP — a qualified retirement plan that buys, holds, and sells company stock for the benefit of the employees, providing them with an ownership stake in the company — provided the ability to slowly transition leadership of the company over time, and reward the team who helped the company be successful.
About Drake Cooper
Drake Cooper, founded in 1978 by Bill Drake, is one of Idaho’s oldest advertising agencies. It is a full-service, and independently owned advertising agency with offices in Boise, Idaho, and Seattle, Washington. In a first for Idaho creative agencies and one of only a few in the Northwest, Drake Cooper is now an ESOP company.
"We’ve always believed our people are the key to our clients’ success and therefore to our agency’s success and longevity. This new chapter is an extension of who this agency has always been and the values we’ve always tried to uphold. I am very excited for our new employee-owners and this journey we will all take together,” Cooper states.
About ESOP Partners
ESOP Partners is an ESOP consulting and administration firm in Appleton, WI, assisted with the sale and will continue to work with the company as the ESOP consultant and third-party administrator. ESOP Partners changes lives by creating wealth and sustainable employment through employee ownership and works with business owners and companies to determine if an ESOP is a good fit for their situation. ESOP Partners establishes, maintains, and sustains employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) throughout the lifecycle to maximize the benefits of being an ESOP company and provide employees with an ownership stake in the company that they work for.
Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) are qualified retirement plans that buy, hold, and sell company stock for the benefit of the employees, providing an ownership stake in the company. ESOPs are the only retirement plan allowed to borrow money to purchase stock and are generally funded only by the company. Selling part or all of a business to an ESOP enables a business owner to sell to a built-in buyer in as little as 90 days at full fair market value. There are many significant tax and cash flow benefits of selling to an ESOP. An ESOP also allows for a better-managed ownership transition, preservation of local jobs, and the maintenance of a company’s legacy in the community. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) there are approximately 10,000 ESOPs in place in the U.S., covering 10.3 million employees. There are less than 2,500 ESOP companies that are 100% owned by their employees.
Read their full press release here.
Read a special story about Drake Cooper's announcement, "Christmas in Boise: Boise Ad Agency Employees Become Owners," published by Nonprofit Quarterly Magazine.