Why I turned down $230 million for my agency

Why I turned down $230 million for my agency | Insurance Business America

Why I turned down $230 million for my agency
William A. Graham IV followed his father into the family business in 1962. After 55 years, he made a pivotal decision which he hopes will cement his legacy in one of the 50 largest US commercial agencies.

Graham Company recently announced that the firm will transfer full ownership to employees in an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) trust as its leader goes into retirement from its daily operations. A statement from the firm said the new ownership structure will ensure that the company will remain a privately held entity.

According to a report by The Inquirer, Graham said he was offered as much as $230 million for his firm, which currently employs 180 workers and rakes in more than $50 million in annual revenues.

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“These things don’t grow on trees,” Mark A. Dewelle, insurance analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said in the report.

The report further explained Graham’s move. “Senior Graham people who didn’t get equity in the company used to leave. Now Graham has fixed things so his successors get a piece of the action,” it noted.

Furthermore, it quoted vice chairman Michael Mitchell as saying that the employee ownership “is Bill Graham wanting to perpetuate his legacy. Our culture does not get destroyed because someone buys us and squeezes to get another five bucks from the bottom line.”

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