Daily, the sale or merger of a company involved in a service industry grabs the headlines. Whether a service provider to the healthcare, insurance or other industry, it feels like all companies and industries are in “play”. The announcements of these sales or mergers are normally accompanied with assurances from management that the ownership change will not adversely affect employees or the level of service to customers. Regardless how strong the promise, the fear associated with change is unsettling for many. So while the pace of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) continues to increase, business owners in all industries must continue to keep a watchful eye and consider all options for succession of ownership, both external and internal. One interesting option, which we’ll discuss further, may be the sale to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).