How long does an EOT take to set up?

Jul 16, 2023
Author: Pete Wilmer
Pete leads the Corporate Finance offering at Hawsons, Pete specialises in advising business acquisitions and disposals, raising finance, business valuations and employee ownership trusts (EOT).
EOT setup process

How do I set up an employee ownership trust?

Below is a typical timeline of events that would be required when transitioning to employee ownership. The exact timings of each stage differ from business to business, but based on previous transactions, it is not unusual for a deal to be completed within three to six months, depending on the complexity of the structure of the transaction of course. 

EOT Suitability

The first step of setting up an Employee Ownership Trust is to carry out a careful initial review of the shareholders’ personal and business objectives and consider the relative merits of an EOT compared to a trade sale or other exit strategy (such as a management buy-out). This is to ensure that you are well-informed to make the best decision for you and your business.


Once you have decided that selling to an EOT is the best route for you, our experienced corporate finance team will prepare an independent valuation of your company. This will offer reassurance to the exiting shareholders and the prospective employee-owners that the business is being sold to the EOT at fair market value.

Sourcing Finance

Once a valuation has been established, it is likely that the trust will not have the liquid funds to pay for the entire purchase price upfront.  If the raising of external finance is required, our experts can assist with this by introducing you to specialist lenders and offering you our guidance throughout this process to ensure a successful outcome.

EOT Design and Tax Structuring

Our experts will assist with the deal structuring alongside your chosen solicitors. This will ensure that there is full transparency from the outset with regard to the consideration received by the exiting shareholders and the timing of payments. We would also seek to obtain HMRC clearance for the transaction, which our experts can coordinate. It is at this stage that our tax advisors will help structure the deal to ensure that the EOT qualifies for all the tax benefits such as the capital gains tax exemption for the sellers.

Oversight and Communication

Throughout the entire process, our experts will be on hand to assist you in communicating your plans to your employees at the appropriate points during the transaction process.

Our EOT advisers

We have advised many businesses to complete their transition to employee ownership. Hawsons have been working with businesses on EOTs since they were introduced in 2014, completing our first deal in 2016.

We are a member of the Employee Ownership Association who represent organisations that are employee-owned or transitioning to employee ownership across the UK.

Find out more about our EOT advisory service

Contact our EOT experts

Pete Wilmer, Corporate Finance Partner

Pete Wilmer

Senior Partner & Head of Corporate Finance, Sheffield
0114 266 7141

Pete leads the Corporate Finance offering across the firm, having has spent much of his career within a large international accountancy firm and corporate banking before returning to Hawsons, where he started. Working with businesses of all sizes, Pete has an exceptional breadth of experience which he brings to the benefit of clients.

An early adopter and passionate believer in good employee ownership, Pete has helped numerous businesses transition to employee ownership and works extensively to promote the employee ownership model.

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