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“Culture and values” fuel family business merger

Mergers and acquisitions of family businesses have been on an upward trend. The combination of a long-term outlook and a desire to preserve family heritage often woos companies controlled by families to look to each other for expansion and growth.

Mergers and acquisitions of family businesses have been on an upward trend. The combination of a long-term outlook and a desire to preserve family heritage often woos companies controlled by families to look to each other for expansion and growth.

This line of thought was recently seen when two family-owned packaging companies in the US merged their businesses. Menasha Packaging, a subsidiary of privately held Menasha Corporation, has acquired fellow family-controlled Strive Group in a move to broaden its market share, the company said in a statement.

“We believe there is an excellent strategic fit between the companies; we both are midwest-based, family-owned companies with strong cultures and values,” Jim Kotek, president and chief executive of Menasha Corporation, said in the release on 31 January.

Wisconsin-based Menasha, which is a packaging, logistics and marketing services company, was founded in 1849 by Elisha Smith. With revenues of more than $1 billion (€760 million), the family-run business is looking to further boost its sales.

Mike Waite, a family member by marriage and president of the packaging operations, said that acquiring Strive will “enhance [Menasha’s] merchandising supply chain model and strengthen [its] geographic coverage”. The company is currently chaired by David Shepard, a direct descendant of the founder.

By acquiring Chicago-based Strive Group, the Shepard family has teamed up with a business that can trace its roots to the 1960s. The business began when Dick Sharfstein and his father Robert established Pride Container, a company that dealt only with packaging.

Dick’s two sons took over in 1997 and transformed the then failing business into one that focused on designing, packaging and display assembly.

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