Loch Fyne Oysters has accepted a deal which will clear its debt and provide money to help expand export sales to more than £25 million within five years.
Earlier this year Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg had called for more companies to follow the employee-owned John Lewis model to create a more dynamic economy
But all 105 staff at Loch Fyne Oysters voted in favour of the agreement for Scottish Seafood Investments (SSI), a joint vehicle between the Scottish Salmon Company and private equity firm Northern Link, to acquire 100% of the Argyll-based business.
Employees are not receiving cash payouts but terms and conditions have been improved across the board while there are a number of incentives related to future performance.
Staff will also be given the option to buy shares in the Scottish Salmon Company.
Plans to sustainably expand production of salmon, oysters, mussels, sea urchins and seaweed in Loch Fyne will be accelerated.
Bruce Davidson, managing director of Loch Fyne Oysters, told The Herald the company had been looking for the right partner for around a year as the employee-ownership structure made it difficult to raise funds for expansion from external sources.
He said: "We wanted someone with a long-term view who was interested in retaining the business in its location and would invest for growth.
"They also had to adhere to our principles of sustainable and environmentally friendly business practices.
"We believe we have the right partner as SSI ticks all those boxes. It was a good demonstration of how employee-ownership works, as we could not have done the deal if everyone had not voted for it.
"Everybody was involved and fully informed, as opposed to other structures where it might be just one or two people making the decisions about the futures of many more people.
"This is geared towards investment in the future of Loch Fyne Oysters. It takes out all of our debt and builds in funds for capital investment projects.
"It is an exciting time as it lets us open up new markets such as the US, Japan and Korea."
Jane MacLeod, chairman of Loch Fyne Oysters' employee-benefit trust, will initially sit on the new board as an adviser.
An employee council for the exchange of information between staff and the board is also being set up.
Campbell Shirlaw, director at the Scottish Salmon Company and now chairman of Loch Fyne Oysters, said: "Loch Fyne is an iconic Scottish brand and we are pleased and proud to invest in it.
"SSI's investment will allow the Loch Fyne Oysters' team to grow the business and realise its true potential. We also believe there will be huge benefits from building on the long-term Loch Fyne relationship that exists between Loch Fyne Oysters and the Scottish Salmon Company and welcome the opportunity to develop what we believe can be a very strong partnership bringing both sides of this world-famous loch together.
"As close neighbours, local provenance is extremely important to both companies and their shared views on development internationally provide a firm basis for the future."
Mr Davidson expects up to a 10% increase in staff numbers with jobs created across the company's operations.
He added: "The big opportunity in the immediate future is fresh salmon as we have never sold branded Loch Fyne fresh salmon. Our sales director has been working for a few months on motivating our customer base and informing them that this was coming down the track.
"It's a good opportunity to sell more to our existing customers as well as explore new markets."
Loch Fyne Oysters was set up in 1978 by wine merchant and estate owner Johnny Noble and marine biologist Andy Lane.
SSI was formed last year and funded acquisition vehicle Associated Seafoods in takeovers of salmon smoker Lossie Seafoods and prawn processor Moray Seafoods.