In this business tv show, Paul George from the Business Families Team at PricewaterhouseCoopers explains why it could be in your best interest to buy out the rest of the family:
“The other thing that can be a problem with a family business that thrives over many generations is if you’re not careful you end up with a very unmanageable share holder register.
You know in a modern family it’s often the case that the entrepreneur will split the shares pretty equally among his children. If they do the same then in some families within generations you’re talking about dozens of shareholders and you can end up in a very difficult and unmanageable situation where its still a private company but its got a pretty widely spread shareholder base who aren’t closely associated with what’s going on and often the company carries on operating in much the same way they did in the first generation, with a very low dividend, really running very conservatively for the benefit of the business, not the shareholders and that’s a recipe for all sorts of problems if its not sorted out.
The companies that survive longest in terms of generations, if you go back through you’ll often find there’s been a succession of single children. The two big problems in family succession are having no children and having many children and there’s a process that many of those survived have gone through every 2 or 3 generations of, if you like pruning the family tree, buying out those parts of the shareholder register that aren’t really heavily committed to the company anymore.
Borrowing in the company and doing that in that way and history says that’s a successful part of the process of keeping a family process healthy in the long term.”
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