Billions and Billions Ignored: Biz Media Shuns Family-run Businesses


May 31, 2012

An interesting article about the lack of media coverage of family-owned business, published by CampdenFB, contrasts the business press attention to companies like Facebook with privately owned companies.


The article caught our eye because family-run companies are of interest to PE investors as targets but also potential acquirers of portfolio firms.  They also often have a family office for investing and preserving their wealth.


The author points out that the business media practically ignores unlisted (and family-owned) companies, such as German-based Schwarz Group and Haniel that had respective revenues of EUR 64 billion and EUR 27.8 billion last year, or France’s Sonepar, whose turnover last year was EUR 15 billion, and US-based Tyson Foods with revenues of around EUR 23.89 billion.


Each of these companies has much greater revenues that recently listed Facebook. The report suggests that many of these non-listed companies like the fact that the media doesn’t write about them. Many like being secretive and block journalists’ enquiries.


But most don’t even have to be secretive because journalists don’t bother trying to find out information about them in the first place. It concludes that more transparency would bring about more attention.


The same publication also published its list of 100 top family businesses in Europe, an interesting read that shows the massive scale of some of the region’s family-owned businesses.

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