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Congratulations, Cliff Bar! The sale to Mondelez reinforces our view that this is ‘the ESOP decade’

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My sincere and sincere congratulations to Clif Bar & Company and its associates on their landmark agreement to sell to Mondelēz International! The natural energy, food and snack bar maker — 20% owned by its employees — sold itself for $2.9 billion, opening additional revenue opportunities.

Clif Bar and Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford, the husband-and-wife owners and co-Chief Visionary Officers, have been our friends for over a dozen years. I had the privilege of working with Clif Bar when they put together a 20% ESOP plan in the spring of 2010 through the sale of common family stock and they’ve been connected ever since.

The anticipated Clif Bar acquisition and other significant employee ownership developments convince me that my assertion from more than a year ago that this will be “The Decade of the ESOP” is becoming a reality.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen an increase in employee ownership. This was spurred on by PE firms, including led by global investment giant KKR & CO, and Long Point Capital, which leveraged a broad-based employee engagement model that, for KKR in particular, aims to empower every employee in a American manufacturer it acquires a participant in the success of the company they work for.

We see a growing number of states establishing state ESOP centers to help family and other businesses secure the benefits of employee ownership. And last December, after the congress acted To make 100% ESOPs eligible for follow-up contracts with a single source, President Biden signed the first-ever government contract program to specifically encourage ESOPs. The law also spends money improving employee ownership education. (The fact that Jared Bernstein, a longtime advocate for employee ownership, is now a member of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers may have helped enact this landmark legislation.)

As for Clif Bar, when it announced the ESOP program, Kit explained that she and Gary “wanted to create a company where we would want to work. She added: “Employee ownership is yet another way we can run a different kind of business: one that inspires a team of people to create the kind of delicious, nutritious food we’d like to eat, and that strives for a healthier lifestyle.” , more sustainable world.”

Cliff Bar’s culture, values ​​and a foundation of five different aspirations underline how important Clif Bar places on employee ownership and participation. Its ambitions – involving People, Planet, Community, Business and Brand – are convincingly explained and highlighted in the company’s 2020 yearbook reportLet’s move the worldthat will excite any viewer.

We’re excited about the employees of Clif Bar (whose original 20% ownership suggests a $580 million “reward” for the purchase of Mondelez) and we’ll be watching with excitement as they write their next chapter on a global platform.

As I’ve stated before, employee ownership offers a “win-win-win.” You get the culture and engagement – and you get the thoughts and ideas of people on the line and at work. With these special ingredients you can achieve results that were previously unimaginable.

Bravo, Cliff Bar! And congratulations Mondelez on bringing in another iconic brand.

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