A buy-out is a fundamental change in the structure of ownership that may affect the way employee relations develop within an organisation. Little is known about the impact of buyouts upon employee relations. This paper aims to address this gap. We focus on two main questions. First, what are the effects of a buy-out on employee relations in an organisation? Second, does the national institutional context affect the impact of buy-outs on employee relations? The paper reports changes to employee relations in buy-outs in the contrasting institutional environments of the UK and the Netherlands. Overall, we find that buy-outs positively affect HR practices with increases in training, employee involvement, the number of employees and pay levels. The positive effects appear to be significantly stronger in a less institutionalised environment like the UK than the more institutionalised environment of the Netherlands. Buy-outs raised HRM practices in the UK to a level closer although still below that of Dutch buy-outs.