An increasing number of business owners are interested in creating employee stock-ownership plans as they fear that an increase in the 15% capital-gains tax is imminent, according to this article. In a typical ESOP, the company borrows the money to fund the transaction and then pays it back over time. It also gradually allocates shares in the company to employees. Issues to be aware of in an ESOP include ensuring that the company can handle any debt taken on, and the cost of buying back the shares of participants who leave the company or want to sell. Some owners of privately held companies have found the plans can be an efficient exit strategy.