Boca Raton (Feb. 2, 2015) -- The International law firm Greenberg Traurig represented Henny Penny Corporation (Henny Penny or the Company) in a sale of the Company to its newly formed Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Established in 1957 in Eaton, Ohio, Henny Penny is one of the country’s leading designers and manufacturers of premium foodservice cooking, holding and display equipment for thousands of restaurants, supermarkets and institutions around the world. In January 2014, Henny Penny acquired Wood Stone, the leading global manufacturer of stone hearth and specialty cooking equipment. Wood Stone founded in 1990, is located in Bellingham, Wash.
The Greenberg Traurig transaction team for the sale of Henny Penny Corporation to the ESOP was led by Shareholders Jeffrey S. Kahn and Rebecca G. DiStefano (Boca Raton), and Marc R. Baluda (San Francisco). They were assisted by Shareholders Brandon G. Feingold (Boca Raton), Timothy J. Jessell (Northern Virginia), Harry J. Friedman (Fort Lauderdale), Richard A. Sirus, (Chicago), and by Of Counsel Alison M. Gathright (San Francisco), and Associates Michael R. Einig (Miami), Noam Lipshitz (Fort Lauderdale) and Michelle Kauppila (Chicago). The investment banking firm of CSG Partners worked closely with the Greenberg Traurig team, and was led by Director, George Thacker.
Greenberg Traurig provided counsel in the areas of plan design, finance and banking arrangements, tax, employee benefits and other matters related to the Company’s ESOP structure. The firm also advised in the areas of corporate and ERISA fiduciary duties.
“This is an exciting and historic day for Henny Penny, Wood Stone and our employees. Our employees always have been and will continue to be the key to our success. Without them, we would not be where we are today. They are now empowered, more than ever, to ensure the continuation of the exciting success we have enjoyed,” stated, Steve Cobb, Chairman of Henny Penny. “We are grateful for the expertise, counsel and attention to detail that Greenberg Traurig brought to our ESOP transaction. Their commitment of their deep resources was integral to the success of our transaction.”
Jeffrey S. Kahn, Co-Chair of Greenberg Traurig’s ESOP Practice Group who led the Henny Penny legal transaction team, commented, "We were extremely fortunate to have been able to work with Henny Penny and the Cobb family on this transition to employee ownership. Steve Cobb and the other senior management embraced the use of an ESOP as a way of achieving their goals of keeping Henny Penny private, and ensuring the well-being of their employees.” Kahn further said, "The ESOP was an ideal strategy to best meet these objectives and a perfect fit for Henny Penny’s existing culture."
About Henny Penny:
Henny Penny continues more than 57 years of innovation that began in Eaton, Ohio, U.S., with the first commercial pressure fryer in 1957. Today, Henny Penny offers a wide range of high quality foodservice equipment designed for easier operation, greater flexibility and lower operating costs. Product lines include pressure and open fryers, combi ovens, rotisseries, holding cabinets, and display merchandisers. These products and complete start-up, service, training and technical support, are available through Henny Penny’s exclusive worldwide distributor network. For more information on the company, visit www.HennyPenny.com.
About Wood Stone:
Wood Stone Corporation based in Northwest Washington state, has been manufacturing stone hearth and specialty cooking equipment for the foodservice industry since 1990. Wood Stone Corporation has built its reputation on its family of stone hearth ovens. Its technologically advanced ceramics and engineering expertise, coupled with the high quality construction techniques and attention to detail are typical of all Wood Stone products and relied upon by its loyal customers such as Wolfgang Puck, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and California Pizza Kitchen. For more information on the company, visit www.woodstone-corp.com.
ESOPs are qualified retirement plans that primarily invest in company stock for the benefit of the employees, providing an ownership stake in the company. An ESOP also allows for a better-managed ownership transition, preservation of local jobs, and the maintenance of a company’s legacy in the community. According to the ESOP Association there are approximately 10,000 ESOPs in place in the U.S., covering 10.3 million employees (10 percent of the private sector workforce).