Kuno Creative Completes Sale to Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)

Posted by Melanie Matulonis on Wed, Aug 11, 2021
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Kuno Creative, an award-winning digital marketing agency founded in 2000, has announced the successful transfer of 100% ownership of the company to its employees via an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

The inbound marketing agency works with mid to large companies in Technology, Healthcare, Industrial and Sustainable industries to convert qualified leads through innovative digital marketing strategies.

From the beginning, our team has been on the frontline of creativity, pushing the limits of what our clients can achieve,” said CEO Chris Knipper. “Becoming an employee-owned company fully supports my belief that the secret to success is making others successful.”

 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.

 The total number of ESOPs in the country is about 6,600 representing 14.1 million participants and total plan assets of $1.5 trillion dollars. 

 Studies have demonstrated that ESOP companies outperform their non-ESOP counterparts.  A recent study demonstrated that employee-owned companies are 235% better at job retention than their non-ESOP counterparts (Source: NCEO). 

 About Kuno Creative 

Founded in 2000 by Chris Knipper as a traditional marketing and branding agency, Kuno Creative has continuously experienced year-over-year growth, evolving into a global digital marketing agency and a Diamond HubSpot Partner. Kuno now has a fully remote workforce consisting of the top talent across the country. Employees at Kuno have a mission to do marketing that matters for companies they believe make the world a better place. 

About ESOP Partners

ESOP Partners is an ESOP service provider that 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.

 About ESOPs

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 the press release here. 

Topics: ESOP Partners News, ESOP Transactions

Melanie Matulonis
Written by Melanie Matulonis

Melanie Matulonis is the Marketing Team Leader with ESOP Partners. She is responsible for supporting the company’s strategic goals and mission of "changing lives through employee ownership" through the development and execution of internal and external marketing communications programs and campaigns.