N&Q: An interesting family office investment; the trials and tribulations of a third gen leader

Family office buys into furniture group and head takes a role

Here’s a good example of an international family office deal, which plays to the strength of the family’s expertise. Prairie Management Group, the Chicago-based family office of Gordon and Carole Segal who founded one of America’s most successful furniture groups, Crate & Barrel, is investing in a UK furniture business called The Cotswold Company. Prairie is doing the deal through a fund called True Capital, which the Segals have a significant investment in.

Gordon Segal, who founded with his wife Crate & Barrel more than 50 years ago, will play an active role in the management of The Cotswold Company. In a press release about the acquisition, Gordon said:  “I am delighted to have the opportunity to get involved in the next stage of The Cotswold Company’s growth. Building great businesses requires exceptional people and an outstanding culture.” The deal proves two things - firstly, family offices like to invest in sectors they know well, and secondly, management skills are desired no matter what their age - Gordon is 77.

 

It’s tough running a family-owned newspaper

A Financial Times article about the family owned Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz touches on the difficulties families face running a newspaper business in a digital age. The interview is with Amos Schocken, the third-generation member of the family who has owned the Tel Aviv newspaper since 1937 when Amos’s grandfather bought it. Amos is active in the management of the newspaper.

Asked about the difficulties of owning and running a newspaper today, Amos said: “You could say it’s interesting, certainly — and you could say I’m stuck with it. The Sulzbergers (the owners of the New York Times) are stuck with it too, maybe, and the Grahams (the former owners of the Washington Post) decided they are not stuck with it.” But will the next generation be stuck with it as well?