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Family business roundup: Poultry producer to sell, chocolate-maker goes under and more sales and acquisitions

From poultry producers and confectioners to luxury goods groups and media conglomerates, family businesses around the world have seen a week of sales, consolidations and acquisitions.

From poultry producers and confectioners to luxury goods groups and media conglomerates, family businesses around the world have seen a week of sales, consolidations and acquisitions.

The family behind poultry producer Inghams Enterprises said on 16 July that it will sell the business, bringing to an end the Inghams' 94-year involvement with the company.

Second-generation Bob Ingham, who has been the sole shareholder at the Australian group since his brother Jack’s death in 2003, said he had considered the move “for a number of years”.

”My decision marks the next phase for the successful ongoing development of the company,” he added. Founded in 1918 by Bob’s father, Walter, the family-owned group has revenues of around AUS$2 billion (€1.7 billion).

Another Australian business also saw the end of family ownership last week. Confectioner Darrell Lea, which traces its roots back to 1927 when it was founded by Harry Lea, has gone into administration following cash flow problems.

Well known for making sweets such as Rocklea Road and Peanut Brittle, the family-owned group has seen sales fall by around 20% since 2007. Darrell Lea, which employs around 700 people, has appointed PPB Advisory to find a buyer.

According to the group’s website, the company was the first chocolatier to enter the Guinness Book of Records for making the largest Easter egg at almost 900 kilogrammes.

In the northern hemisphere, Canadian media company Astral, controlled for the last 50 years by the Greenberg family, is to be taken over by phone giant BCE.

The CAD3 billion (€2.41 billion) deal, awaiting regulatory clearance, is to be completed in the second half of this year, according to a statement.

The family-controlled company also said on 12 July that revenues for the quarter ended 31 May fell by 1% to CAD265.5 million, while net earnings grew by 7% to CAD56.2 million.

Meanwhile, the family that owns James Richardson & Sons, which operates across sectors such as agriculture, financial services, oil and gas, investment, and properties, has increased its stake in brokerage group GMP Capital.

Canada’s Richardson family has bought 1.34 million shares in the past seven months, and now owns 20% of the group.

In Europe, luxury goods group PPR, controlled by the Pinault family, is also looking to expand. The French owner of Gucci is reportedly in talks to buy a Chinese luxury company. Although the name of the business isn’t known yet, the acquisition will reportedly be completed this year.

The move is part of family-run PPR’s attempt to reorganise the group to focus on high-end luxury, sports and lifestyle brands. The Paris-based business sold furniture retailer Conforama last year, and said it is looking to sell online retailer Redcats and electronics chain Fnac over the next few years.

Another French business, drinks-maker Remy Cointreau, is also expanding – in the premium whisky sector. The group, owned by the Heriard Dubreuil and Cointreau families and behind brands such as Remy Martin cognac and Mount Gay rum, said on 9 July it is in talks to buy Scottish whisky-maker Bruichladdich Distillery.

Founded in 1881 by brothers William, John and Robert Harvey, the distiller was owned by the family until the 1930s, but changed ownership several times afterwards, and was eventually purchased by a private equity group in 2000.

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