An Update on the Schlafly Beer Succesion Plan
The St. Louis Post Dispatch wrote today that the “Sale of Schlafly Brewer Nears”. This is an update on our succession planning. When you read the article, you will read that we have sent information to some potential local investors, “but it’s not to the point where there are formal discussions with any one party.”
The St. Louis Business Journal also recently ran a story titled “Schlafly Brews $13 million, on the hunt for investors”. The Business Journal wrote, “Kopman and majority owner Schlafly have signed about a dozen potential investors - all local individuals - to confidentiality agreements and provided them with financial information…four to six of those investors look like promising candidates…adding that he and Kopman are in no hurry to sell any of their shares…An employee stock ownership component will also be part of the plan.”
Headlines, while important, are only part of the story. So it should come as no surprise that these most recent stories on our succession planning have led with headlines that may be a little ahead of reality. The reporting itself is accurate, and I appreciate the time that the reporters have taken to get the story right. We have provided interested and qualified local parties with information about the Brewery, and we have met informally with most of these parties. We are exploring various options that could meet our goals and provide for an orderly transition of majority ownership. Much research has been done on potential employee share purchase structures. We have considered how employees qualify to purchase stock, how employees purchase shares, the impact on managing the Brewery, the costs of administration for such plans, and most importantly, how to make sure there is cash available to buy out employee shareholders when they move on or retire. So while headlines may imply that we will have an announcement soon, the reality is that there is still much work to be done.
Once again, the goal is for some combination of Tom, myself, employees and other local investors to own the Brewery for many years to come.
In looking at the calendar, the next few months will include informal discussions and more research on employee share purchase options. The focus right now is to finish a lot of day-to-day work to ensure that 2011 is another successful year for Schlafly Beer. Once the key components are in place for the year and we have made time to enjoy the 20th year celebrations, work on the succession plan will continue.
I believe that we will make significant progress on the succession plan in 2011. Stay tuned, but make sure to have a great Schlafly Beer in hand when you read the next installment of “Sale of Schlafly Beer to Employees and Local Investors”.