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In this issue

  • The pros and cons of debt

    For many family business owners, debt is a four-letter word that’s synonymous with risk, vulnerability and outside control.

    Valuation: A worthy cause

    Most multigenerational family companies eventually will buy out a family shareholder, or at least redeem some stock held by a family member. Sometimes it’s the culmination of a planned transition (a retirement), but often it’s emotionally fraught (a payout to heirs after a shareholder’s death or a dispute that culminates in someone’s exit). No matter the circumstances, a disagreement over the price can turn a good situation bad, or make a bad situation worse.

    Overcoming emotions and conflicts to plan for leadership succession

    The influential founder and chair of a multibillion-dollar family company suddenly fell ill. The founder and chair had worked closely with a non-family CEO on a day-to-day basis. Financial performance was deteriorating. The board was concerned about the future of the business and recommended replacing the CEO.

    Create a formal process for managing conflict

    Family business feuds capture the public imagination. Last year, HBO introduced an original series, Succession, that centered on a quarreling fictional family who control an international media empire. In real life, disagreements in prominent business families often make the front page of the newspaper.

    A higher calling

    The year was 1982. After an antitrust lawsuit that had dragged on for eight years, the U.S. Department of Justice mandated that AT&T Corp. end its vertically integrated monopoly on telephone service in the United States and Canada. For most Americans, the breakup of Ma Bell meant confusing choices and even more confusing bills.

  • The Greatest Generation

    In the past year and a half, I lost three outstanding human beings: my beloved father, Paul Uhlmann, my dear father-in-law, Milton Rock — both patriarchs of our family businesses — and then in April, a close family friend and my brother’s father-in-law, Henry Bloch of H&R Block. All three were in their late 90s.

  • Dueling Perspectives: Jeremy Kanter and Lisa Wojcik Kiser

    Jeremy Kanter joined his family business, Cincinnati-based Rookwood Properties, soon after graduating from the University of Cincinnati. Lisa Wojcik Kiser worked elsewhere before joining her family firm, Beacon Adhesives, based in Mount Vernon, N.Y.

  • At the Helm: Scott Hunt

    Generation of family ownership: Second. My father and three brothers started the business, and my brother Britt is our biggest distributor.

  • Celebration Corner: D.G. Yuengling & Son's 190th anniversary

    The Business: David G. Yuengling Sr. left Germany in 1823 with a plan to start a brewery in the United States. He settled in Pottsville, Pa., a coal-mining community, and got to work. The company, launched in 1829 as the Eagle Brewery, produced two styles of beer: a dark porter and the lighter Lord Chesterfield Ale, which are still brewed by Yuengling’s descendants today.

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