Defence consultancy acquired by its employees to secure its future and preserve its unique culture

April 8, 2022

A technical consultancy for the defence sector has become the latest in a growing list of businesses to become owned by its staff.

Bosses at Chippenham-based Engage Technical Solutions decided to adopt the Employee-Owned Trust (EOT) model as the best way to secure its future while preserving its independence and culture. 

More than 750 companies have become employee owned since the government introduced the scheme in 2014.

The EOT model aims to encourage more shareholders to set up a corporate structure similar to retail group John Lewis as a way of widening employee-ownership via an indirect holding.

Engage CEO David Gagen said he had spent the past few years considering the best way to secure the future of the company, which works on complex projects with the Ministry of Defence, defence contractors such as Babcock and Wiltshire Police, for which it recently carried out a review of its programme and project management.

He said the EOT model protected the firm’s special culture, meaning Engage could continue to deliver superb work to its clients.

Engage joins firms such as Bristol-based Aardman Animations, hi-fi retailer Richer Sounds and Riverford Organic Farmers in transferring its ownership to an EOT.

Transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) acted for Engage’s shareholders in the sale to the trustees of a newly formed EOT.

Advice was provided by tax partner Jeremy Smith and corporate law specialist Stacey Hall while managing associate Angelene Chester also provided advice on, and obtained clearances required by, the National Security and Investment Act 2021 which came into force at the start of the year.

RVE Corporate Finance provided the corporate finance advice to the client.

David Gagen said: “We are delighted to have worked with Womble Bond Dickinson to make the Employee Ownership Trust a reality. We couldn’t have done it without the advice, support and technical expertise of the WBD team.”

Jeremy Smith at WBD added: “I am delighted to have been part of the team to help Engage Technical Solutions through this process and support their ambitions to move towards employee ownership.”

 WBD has seven UK offices, including in Bristol, and 19 across the US.


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