Five of the top 10 family-owned businesses in the world are American companies.
For some, it is a dream. For some, it is a too-realistic nightmare.
The family-owned business, handed down from generation to generation, with a trove of secrets like recipes or workplace rules or traditions, is an American staple. Back in the day, it was often based on some sort of handiwork, like cabinet making, and the skill was handed down to the sons and daughters and then grandsons and granddaughters through varying stages of success and failure.
But today family-owned businesses aren’t about carpentry, or about great-grandma’s pasta sauce.
This month, Credit Suisse introduced the CS Global Family 900, a list of 920 family-owned companies in the world. The basis for making the list is that the company is publicly traded, with market capitalization of at least $1 billion, and family-owned stakes in the company of at least 20 percent.
Of the 920 companies making the list, 35 countries are represented, and 64 percent of the 920 are based in Asia.
“In more developed markets, we see more fragmented ownership and many families selling out over time as a general theme,’’ said Credit Suisse in its report. “Frequently quoted statistics from the Family Business Institute show that only one-third of family-owned businesses last into a second generation of ownership, 12 percent to a third and just three percent to a fourth."
According to Spectrem’s bi-annual study on the investors with a net worth of $25 million plus, in 2014 33 percent of investors report having a privately held business that they control. That’s actually down from 41 percent in the 2012 report.
Among the top 20, eight are American companies, including the pharmaceutical and health care company McKesson at No. 13, Phillips Petroleum at No. 18 and Carnival Corporation at No. 19.
The top 10 from 10 to 1 are:
No. 10 Nike – Created by Phil Knight, he remains Chairman until next year, and his son Travis will take a spot on the board when Knight steps down.
No. 9 Kinder Morgan – Richard Kinder got out of Enron and started this energy company.
No. 8 Volkswagen – The German automaker is owned by the Piech-Porsche family.
No. 7 Samsung Electronics – The South Korean information technology company is owned by Lee Kun-Hee family.
No. 6 Oracle – Larry Ellison owns the information technology company and is still Chairman and Chief Technology Officer. His two children own considerable stock.
No. 5 Anheuser-Busch InBev – Once owned by the very successful American family that gave the company its name, it is now owned by Brazil’s wealthiest man, Jorge Paolo Lemann.
No. 4 Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Randi own the company, and Zuckerberg’s father was given two million shares of stock as a thank you for his support early on.
No. 3 Walmart – The Walton family, with five family members ranked among the wealthiest people in the world, is the No. 1 American company on the list.
No. 2 Roche –The Switzerland-based health care company is owned by the Hoffman-Oeri family.
No. 1 Novartis – Another Switzerland company involved in health care, the company is owned by descendants of Edouard Sandoz, who founded the company Sandoz in 1886.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.