They tried, inherited, quarreled, got closer and fought again. There was an argument over almost every decision in the family. But it doesn’t work, so the end is on, Basta. The heirs of August-Rudolf Oetker’s three marriages have split up the group, one of Germany’s largest family businesses. The group announced it on Thursday. The descendants of the first two marriages, including longtime managing director Richard Oetker, receive the food business with bakery ingredients, ready-made cakes, mueslis and pizza, frozen cake baker Coppenrath & Wiese , the Radeberger group with brands such as Jever and Schöfferhofer, resellers of drinks and delivery services such as message in a bottle in a few hotels and several other companies. The third tribe, the three heirs of the third marriage, take over the Henkell & Co sparkling wine cellar, the Budenheim chemical plant, the real estate, as well as a few hotels, the father’s art collection and “other assets. “.
Rumors of separation have been circulating for a long time. The argument was about a lot of money, but not only, but also about power and feelings. Rudolf-August Oetker laid the foundations for the litigation himself: at the turn of the millennium, he gave each of the eight children from his three marriages 12.5% of the shares and decreed that the shareholders should take the important decisions to a clear majority. They did not raise five descendants from the first two marriages, nor the three youngest. They blocked each other cheerfully. This is not atypical for such fraternal societies, as the experts call them.
The separation agreement is expected to be signed later this year. The situation is complicated. The group includes nearly 400 companies. During the 2020 financial year, it achieved a turnover of 7.3 billion euros with more than 36,000 employees worldwide. Most of the activity now goes to the first group, which holds 62.5% of the shares, the second holds 37.5%. During the past financial year, the group achieved a turnover of more than four billion euros in food alone, 1.6 billion euros in beer and non-alcoholic beverages and nearly one billion euros. euros in sparkling wines, wines and spirits.
The owners and the advisory board are confident that with the separation, “decentralized and independently managed businesses will have the prospect of unhindered profitable growth in their respective markets.” The decision has no effect on the employees. Oetker had already sold the shipping sector with the shipping company Hamburg Süde to the Danish group Maersk at the end of 2016. At the time, the services of the industry were speculating on a price of five billion dollars. The company has not provided any information on the financial details of the recent split.
It happens again and again that family businesses separate. The Bahlsens did the same in 1999. Lorenz Bahlsen, the eldest son of Patriarch Werner Bahlsen, got the salty parts, like the crisps and peanut flakes affair. Younger brother Werner Michael ran the confectionery business, the sons of his late sister Immobilien. This is also not the first separation in the Oetker clan. Ursula, Rudolf-August Oetker’s sister, severed ties with those close to her very early on. His son Arend turned the legacy into a billionaire business, which includes jam maker Schwartauer Werke.