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The Employee Ownership Update

Loren Rodgers

January 2, 2012

(Loren Rodgers)

Berkshire Hathaway Completes Purchase of Employee-Owned Newspaper

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway finalized its purchase of the Omaha World-Herald on December 23. The former owners, 275 current and former employees as well as the Peter Kiewet Foundation, approved the sale by what the World-Herald described as an "overwhelming" vote.

Stock Options Spread Through India's Economy

According to an article in the Business Standard, information technology companies granted 61% of all stock options in India in 2003, but as other sectors started granting options, IT's portion of options has fallen to 25% in 2009-10. Among the 500 largest public companies in India, the financial sector grants as many options as IT firms, and the manufacturing sector grants more. The research by the firm ESOP Direct also indicates that Indian companies are increasingly setting up trusts to buy their shares on the open market. Rather than having the company issue new shares and dilute current shareholders, these trusts provide shares to employees when they exercise options.

New ESPP Reference from CEPI

The Certified Equity Professional Institute (CEPI) at Santa Clara University released GPS/ESPP, a publication designed for companies evaluating or currently offering ESPPs, including both 423 and non-423 plans. It covers plan design, administration, financial reporting, costs, and guidelines for offering 423 plans in non-US jurisdictions without jeopardizing favorable US tax treatment. The publication is available to download at no cost at CEPI's Web site.

NCEO's ESOP Executive Compensation Survey Closes January 6

Thanks to the companies that have filled out the NCEO's survey on executive compensation in ESOP companies, we now have over 300 responses. People who completed the survey will receive a prerelease copy of the results as soon as they have been compiled. If you work at a company with an ESOP, you can complete the online survey here or view a PDF version of the questionnaire if you would like to research your answers before opening the survey. Contact Camille Kerr (; 510-208-1310) with questions or concerns.

Sneak preview: while 10% of responding companies reported a loss in the most recent fiscal year, almost 30% reported a profit greater than 10% of revenue.

Spreading the Word on Employee Ownership

NCEO staff members are gradually contacting members, asking for their help in placing articles and speakers with trade associations. The project, funded by the Rosen Ownership Opportunities Fund, has placed six articles and several speakers on the premise that trade associations are a best way to reach business owners who may want to sell to ESOPs. If you would like to be involved, contact Coren Rosen (; 510-208-1314).

NCEO Board Elections Open January 4

Members in good standing will receive emails on January 4 with a link to the online ballot for the election for the NCEO's board of directors. The election will close on January 31.

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