Dansko Retains Culture with 100% ESOP
Chicago-based Verit Advisors Completes ESOP Transaction for Leading Shoe Company
Dansko announced the sale of the company to a 100 percent Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) owned S-Corp. Verit Advisors, a Chicago-based investment banking firm, was engaged by Dansko to evaluate strategic alternatives, including various ESOP alternatives, for the selling shareholders. Verit provided expertise in ESOP valuation and structuring, M&A, and Debt Placement alternatives, allowing Dansko to evaluate and optimize their objectives.
Dansko was founded in 1990 and is nationally recognized as a market leader in designing and distributing comfort footwear to over 2,500 U.S. and international retail locations.
Verit Advisors worked diligently with Dansko, alongside management and a team of professionals including Legacy Advisors and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. The objective for primary shareholders, wife and husband Mandy Cabot and Peter Kjellerup, was to find an ownership and liquidity succession plan that did not disrupt Dansko, its culture, its people, or its future opportunities, all key assets of this top performing family business. The sale of the company to a 100 percent ESOP owned S-Corp provides Dansko with just that, as well as tax savings, extraordinary employee benefits, financial flexibility and the opportunity to continue as a B-Corp.
“Employee ownership allows us to continue our vision and preserve our culture, while engaging our employees, which has always been an underlying objective of our succession plans,” said Mandy Cabot, Co-Founder, CEO and President of Dansko. “We are excited for this next chapter under the 100% ESOP as we continue to live our values, expand our business, serve our community and bring new strategic opportunities to fruition.”
Verit advisors create ESOP for Dansko shoe company
“This exciting transaction presented the opportunity for Verit to leverage and implement our core strengths in ESOPs, M&A and Debt Capital Markets,” said John Solimine, founding member and Principal of Verit Advisors. “Partnering with Dansko’s primary shareholders and management team to evaluate a full suite of strategic alternatives allowed us to structure an optimal transaction that achieved our client’s long-term objectives. It was an honor for us to be part of the Dansko legacy and to assist in their transition to a 100% ESOP.”
When wife and husband team, Mandy Cabot and Peter Kjellerup discovered their perfect barn shoe in a tiny shop in Denmark, they just had to share the shoes with their friends. When their friends tried them on, they told their friends. And just like that, a shoe company was born. The company generates approximately $140 million in annual revenue and has 175 employees. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania the company prides itself on its 80,000 square feet LEED certified headquarters and its status as a B-Corp. The company has been named one of the best places to work in Philadelphia.
About Verit Advisors
Verit Advisors unites sophisticated middle-market investment banking capabilities with a client-centric boutique, fluent in ESOPs, debt and equity capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions. Integrity, teamwork, service and innovation are at the heart of the organization, as the Verit Team strives to provide unparalleled advice and custom solutions to its clients. Mary Josephs founded Verit Advisors in 2009 and has nearly three decades of experience in the world of corporate finance. Josephs and her team are considered to be the foremost experts in ESOP transactions and middle market strategic alternatives.