Employee Ownership Trust ‘provides right mechanism’ for Grapevine to pass IT and communications business to loyal team

IT and communications business Grapevine is “taking the next step in the evolution of the company, bringing the team to the forefront” after transferring ownership to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

Now a full-service IT and communications support provider, Grapevine has come a long way from its early days as a reseller of mobile contracts in 1991. Many of today’s team have been a part of that journey, with 30-year and 25-year staff anniversaries taking place alongside this latest announcement from the company.

As an EOT, ownership of the business will transfer from the founders to the broader team of 20 employees working across the South and South West. In a statement, the business said the move “rewards those who have dedicated a substantial amount of time to the company as well as more recent additions, who have each contributed to Grapevine’s notable transformation”.

Grapevine employee ownership

Company directors James Spinks and Edward Lewis provided further insight into this strategic move.

“We have ambitious growth plans and that cannot be achieved without the right people onboard.” James said. “Becoming an Employee Ownership Trust provides our team with additional job security and allows them to focus on what they do best, for us, and our clients.”

Ed added: “Grapevine has a fantastic track record when it comes to staff retention. We wanted to explore ways to continue and further reward that longevity. As an Employee Ownership Trust everyone has a genuine stake and interest in the success of the business.”

Peter Boby has had a major role in the development of the business across four decades, and remarked: “For Grapevine, becoming an Employee Ownership Trust just felt the right thing to do. With such a loyal and committed group of staff, other alternatives such as selling the business to a trade buyer felt wrong.

“Instead, an EOT offered the opportunity for long-term stability and for the company’s values and culture to continue for years to come.”

Company founder Brian Vockins also reinforced the importance to him and co-founder Hilary Vockins that the legacy of Grapevine be protected.

“The three major shareholders decided some three years ago that it was time to plan for retirement,” said Brian. “We had, over 30 years, built a strong and resilient business and wanted to pass on this to our loyal staff and management teams. The EOT provided just the right mechanism.”

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