Verit Advisors®, a Chicago-based investment banking firm, was engaged by Chicago-based EA Collective to provide expertise in structuring an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) transaction and capital raise that optimized the Company’s and shareholders’ objectives. Through the ESOP, the employees of EA Collective became 100% shareholders of the Company.  EA Collective, founded in 1999, is a premier full-service brand experience agency that caters to brands with diverse creative and production needs.

“From 1999, we’ve always put a focus on our employees and we believe this ESOP transition will maintain the integrity of our culture and ensure a bright future for our employees, while allowing the company to continue to grow and attract the best talent ,” says co-founder Fergus Rooney.

Adds co-founder Gabrielle Martinez, “Our team is one of the main reasons we grew from a small 10-person agency to three agencies with over 100 full time employees. While Fergus and I are ready to move on to other endeavors, the rest of the EA Collective team is eager to continue growing the organization into its next iteration.”

Verit Advisors’ team, led by Jake Cravens, collaborated with the EA Collective ownership and management team to custom design an optimal transaction based on Verit’s extensive experience with private business ownership transition.

“We were very proud to support Gabrielle and Fergus in evaluating strategic alternatives and executing the 100% ESOP transaction. The ESOP preserves the Company’s legacy, mission, and values while maximizing shareholder objectives and creating a meaningful retirement benefit for current and future EA Collective employees. We believe the ESOP will continue the founders’ vision of an employee-centric culture and support the Company for years to come”.

About EA Collective

EA Collective is a leading full-service brand experience agency that combines a portfolio of unique divisions to engage targeted audiences and guide a brand journey. Independently owned, and entrepreneur led, the agency is in Chicago and is skilled across three integrated business divisions — Agency EA (an experience partner), Studio Sage (a content partner) and Storyhorse (a brand partner). The founding team began their business in 1999 and have maintained the same entrepreneurial spirit that first set them apart.

About Verit Advisors

Verit Advisors unites sophisticated investment banking capabilities with a client centric boutique, fluent in ESOPs, debt capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, and valuation services. Integrity, teamwork, service, and innovation are at the heart of the organization, as Verit strives to provide unparalleled advice and custom solutions to its clients. Mary Josephs founded Verit Advisors in 2009. Josephs and her team are considered to be one of the foremost experts in ESOP transactions and middle market strategic alternatives.