Global family business news from all around the world in the quarter ending on February 2017, from Donald Trump to the mega-merger of Ray-Ban’s Luxottica Group.
01 United States – Donald Trump to cuts ties to family business under scrutiny
U.S. President Donald Trump has announced plans to resign from the Trump Organization and hand over management to his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, as the company’s network of business interests in the U.S. and around the world have been cited as potential sources of major conflicts of interest. Ivanka Trump has also resigned from her role as Executive Vice President as her husband Jared Kushner was appointed Senior Advisor to the Trump administration.
02 Hong Kong – Forbes family settles takeover dispute
A legal battle over the takeover of Forbes magazine between the Forbes family, led by brothers Steve and Tim Forbes, and Hong Kong-based Integrated Whale Media (IWM) has been settled in an out of court deal. The dispute over a $40,000 interest payment had been a source of legal tension ever since IWM agreed to a $415 million deal to buy 95% of Forbes in 2014.
03 Italy – Makers of Ray-Ban complete giant merger
The Luxottica Group of Italy has agreed to a merger French optical-lens maker Essilor, in a $49 billion deal that combines the two largest companies in the eyeglass and sunglass industry. The deal will make Luxottica’s 81-year-old founder and Italy’s richest man, Leonardo Del Vecchio, the largest single shareholder in the combined company with a 30% stake.
04 Japan – Indian subsidiary double production of parent company Suzuki
Japanese family-owned automaker Suzuki Motor Corporation has seen its Indian subsidiary Maruti Suzuki produce twice as many vehicles as itself, reflecting the lowest production numbers for Suzuki Japan in years. Maruti Suzuki now represents half the group volume worldwide, and will be supplemented by the opening of a new manufacturing plant in Gujarat.
05 Sweden – H&M misses expectations as Christmas sales fall short
Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M saw its shares drop as it announced worse than expected December sales, as its 6% rise in sales underperformed analyst forecasts of a 10% growth. The world’s second-largest clothing company owned by the Persson family has blamed the underwhelming results on unseasonable weather, as rival retailer and similarly family-owned Zara continues to post double-digit growth.
06 South Korea – Samsung heir embroiled in political corruption scandal
Samsung heir and de facto chief Lee Jae-Yong has found himself at the center of a corruption scandal, which has seen President Park Geun Hye suspended from office on charges of influence peddling by her confidant. South Korean prosecutors have alleged that the company’s contributions to two foundations linked to the confidant were actually bribes to pave the way for a merger in 2015.
07 Switzerland – Richemont and Swatch shares surge on sales optimism
Family-run Swiss watchmakers Richemont and Swatch Group saw its shares rise to a one year high, as analysts look to signs that the biggest downturn for luxury timepieces since the 1980s may be ending. Both companies reported that wholesale orders to retailers have been dropping less in recent months, and are now looking to recovering sales in China to fuel exports in 2017.
08 Canada – Walmart charged for selling tainted foods
Walmart Canada and four of its senior managers have been charged with 174 counts related to the sale of food contaminated during a Fort McMurray wildfire last May. The charges, filed by Alberta Health Services, state that Walmart Canada failed to ensure that contaminated food was not stocked or sold and even allege that the family-owned company lied to public health inspectors regarding such sales.