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Family Business Roundup: Sika, Akka Technologies, and Cablevision

By Michael Finnigan

Sika family sell stake to French rival Saint-Gobain

Swiss industrial giant Sika, owned by the Burkard family, signed a SFr2.75bn (€2.3bn) deal to sell their controlling stake to French rival Saint-Gobain this week.

Share prices in both companies fell on Monday following news amid fears that a partial buyout could hamper plans for a full buyout.

According to the Reuters, board members at Sika were not informed of the deal and are have expressed opposition. In response, the Burkard family are reportedly seeking to oust opposing board members.

Saint-Gobain, who are currently accelerating expansion plans in emerging markets and the US, believe the deal will boost the firm's growth potential and access to other markets. They expect synergies from the deal could reach €180 million by 2019.

Sika was founded by Kaspar Winkler in 1910. The controlling Burkard family owned 16.1% of Skia's share capital but 52.4% of its voting rights. The sale will allow the Burkard family to exit before handing over to the fifth generation.

Akka Technologies acquires German engineering firm Auronik

Akka Technologies, the French family-controlled engineering company, has purchased German consulting firm Auronik Group for an undisclosed sum.

The family-controlled firm expects the acquisition will realise revenue of €12 million in 2014, with a double?digit operating margin. Auronik's acquisition will be accretive as early as 2015, according to an accompanying statement.

Maurice Ricci, chief executive officer of AKKA Technologies said: “Auronik's front-ranking know-how in innovation and eMobility dovetails perfectly with AKKA Technologies' DNA. Its acquisition is the first step in our diversification strategy in Germany. It will help us achieve our medium-term objective of doubling our revenue in Germany.”

Founded in 2010 in Munich, Auronik employs around 130 highly skilled employees and is enjoying strong growth. Akka Technologies, on the other hand, employs nearly 11,000 members of staff and had revenues of €879 million in 2013.

Cablevision second-gen James Dolan battles with union

A New York judge has ruled that Cablevision's second-generation leader and chief executive, James Dolan, has violated multiple labour laws trying to stop employees from unionising.

The judge also found that Cablevision was guilty of trying to weaken the union but rejected the most serious allegations from the Communications Workers of America,  that the company wasn't bargaining in good faith, and upheld a worker vote not to unionise in the Bronx, a major win for the company.

This follows last month's hearing by the National Labour Relations Board, who charged Dolan with threatening to deny company workers in Brooklyn a pay increase unless they voted to quit their union. Afterwards, Dolan attacked the labour board as unfair, saying it accepted the union's claims too readily, without reading all of Cablevision's submissions in response.

In a statement issued by Cablevision, Dolan said that the company looked forward to "being vindicated as the NLRB and court process continues.”

The Dolan family also owns the New York Knicks, a team many union-supporting New York councillors are threatening to boycott, due to the family business's actions.

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