Contested Takeovers of Family Firms and Socioemotional Wealth: a Case Study



Campbell K & Jerzemowska M (2017) Contested Takeovers of Family Firms and Socioemotional Wealth: a Case Study. Baltic Journal of Management, 12 (4), pp. 447-463.

Purpose – This paper provides an understanding of the importance of socioemotional wealth to family firms in Poland viewed through the lens of the events surrounding the first hostile takeover bid of the post-communist era on the Warsaw Stock Exchange when the clothing company Vistula & Wólczanka (V&W) made an unsolicited, leveraged bid for the family-controlled jewellery company W. Kruk.  Design/methodology/approach – The 2008 takeover and its aftermath are described in the context of the corporate governance and legal environment in Poland. The case study events demonstrate the connection between firm behavior and socioemotional wealth theory.  Findings –After the acquisition of W. Kruk by V&W, the Kruk family purchased stock in the newly named Vistula Group and gained influence over the supervisory board in concert with a business ally, eventually wresting back control of the company in the style of a Pac-Man ‘defence’. The case study illustrates the importance of socioemotional wealth in family firm takeovers.  Research limitations/implications – The case-study design has limitations for generalizability. Nevertheless the research highlights the relevance of socioemotional wealth preservation in understanding the market for control of listed family firms in Poland.  Practical implications – Understanding the reaction by family firms to takeover bids requires recognition that there is a tradeoff between financial and socioemotional wealth considerations, not just financial gains and losses.  Originality/value – The case study demonstrates the importance of socioemotional wealth to family firms and suggests that the balance of power in takeovers on the Polish stock market rests with incumbent management.

Takeovers; Family business; Socioemotional wealth; Corporate governance; Agency theory; Pac-Man defence

Baltic Journal of Management: Volume 12, Issue 4

Publication date31/12/2017
Publication date online02/10/2017
Date accepted by journal11/07/2017

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Dr Kevin Campbell

Dr Kevin Campbell

Senior Lecturer in Finance, Accounting & Finance