N&Q: Long-running family business saga trundles on; family office and VC investing; family office appointment

The latest in the long-running saga at Swiss family business, Sika

The dispute between the family owners of the Swiss industrial chemical maker Sika and its management board continues. Sika management has most recently restricted AGM voting rights for the Burkard family to 5% when it came to electing directors. This has now happened three years in a row. The dispute between Sika’s management, backed by many minority shareholders, and the family owners, the Burkhards, who own 53% of the voting shares, is one of the most contentious in the family business world. Here’s a good summary of it.

 

VC guru calls for more family office money to back startups

Denis Shafranik, a founding partner at Concentric, a pan-European VC, wants family offices to back more startups in Europe. In a comment piece, Shafranik says, VC funding in Europe is a fraction of what it is in the US and family offices need to help fill that gap. “We are now at a critical juncture,” he says. “If European tech’s momentum isn’t to fade away, we need family offices to punch their weight and allocate far more investment into VC. Without them, we will fall further behind not just the U.S. but other parts of the world, including Asia.”

 

Family office appointment

Edgar Nehme, a US-based chief investment officer, looks to be joining one of Robert Bass’s family offices, according to Institutional Investor. Nehme worked for Kaust Investment Management. Bass, who has an estimated fortune of around $4 billion, runs two investment businesses, Oak Hill Capital Partners and Acadia Investment Management. It’s not clear which one Nehme is joining, says the II piece.