Lessons From Hyatt Family Decisions on Selling Businesses

For many business owners, selling a business is both about the money and about finding the right home for their life’s work.  This was very true for the Hyatt family as they worked to sell family businesses over the last decade after the patriarch’s death.  I was struck by several quotes from Thomas Pritzker, Chairman of Hyatt, about the process of selling businesses in a recent profile in the Financial Times.marmon

One of the companies that Mr. Pritzker was particularly proud of was Marmon, an industrial congomerate with interests from vehicle parts to railway carriages.  He ran the business before selling it to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.  “I wanted to find the right home for it,” he says.  “I considered an auction but auctions involve risk.  You may get a market clearing price but not a home that reflects us.”

Selling businesses gets personal

Business owners can often get a fair price from all sorts of buyers.  The difficult part is finding the right home for the business that works for the customers, the employees, and the owners of the business.  Here is a link to the full profile that appeared in the Financial Times on September 21, 2014.

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