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The Ox and the Frog – German Conglomerates in the Current Crisis

by François Masquelier, Head of Corporate Finance and Treasury, RTL Group, and Honorary Chairman,  EACT 

This article addresses the specific financial situation encountered by a few of the German family-owned groups. This situation may also apply to other multinational companies elsewhere in Europe. The economic crisis will force these companies to completely revise their organisation and their financial and shareholder structure. Is this worldwide recession sounding the death knell for the large family-owned groups? It may be, because some, like the frog in the La Fontaine fable, wanted to grow larger than an ox.

“…The small fool swelled up to the point of bursting (…) The world is full of poeple who are not any wiser. Every land owner wants to build like the great lords, every prince has ambassadors, every marquis wnats to have pages.”

Jean de la Fontaine- The Ox and the Frog.