The corporate family nexus

Campari has just bought its second family business in two years
Campari has just bought its second family business in two years

Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of the luxury group LVMH, once said that family businesses like buying other family businesses because the cultures are the same. Well, his wisdom appears to be catching on.

This week, family-owned drinks group Davide Campari-Milano bought family-owned drinks group the Grand Marnier. It follows on from Campari buying the Sicilian family-owned group Fratelli Averna in 2014. Campari’s biggest shareholders are the Garavoglia family, which own around 30% of the Milan drinks group. Grand Marnier was owned by the Marnier-Lapostolle family.

Last year, the family-controlled UK construction group Wates bought another family-controlled business called the Shepherd Group. Here’s a link to other family-based deals in the last few years.

Of course, families also buy non-family businesses and non-family businesses buy family businesses. And with there being so many family businesses it’s inevitable that the sector buys from its own. But, Arnault’s point about culture is a good one. Although when LVMH tried to buy rival and family-controlled Hermès, he was forced to back down. Clearly, having the same family business cultures doesn’t always translate in the world of acquisitions.


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