June 24, 2022

Clif Bar Employees Reap Windfall in Sale

NCEO founder and senior staff member

Back in 2000, Clif Bar & Company owner Gary Erickson was offered $120 million by Quaker Oats to sell the company he started just eight years earlier. Erickson said the company was not for sale.

Ten years later, Clif Bar set up an ESOP that would own 20% of the company. Since then, the company has grown exponentially. Clif Bar created a distinctive culture focused on organic ingredients, employee wellness, and opportunities for growth. It consistently was named by Fortune as one of the best small and mid-sized companies to work for.

In June 2022, Gary Erickson and his wife Kit Crawford accepted a $2.9 billion offer to buy the company from Chicago-based food giant Mondelez (Oreos, Cadbury, Wheat Thins, and many other well-known brands). According to the most recent Form 5500 filings from Clif Bar, there are almost 1,300 participants (some no longer active employees) who will share in the $580 million paid for the ESOP's portion of the stock, a premium of almost 100% over the 2020 value of ESOP assets.