Anyone who likes to go hiking, biking or camping probably knows what Gore-Tex is. The breathable, waterproof fabric made W.L. Gore and Associates into a huge success. The privately-held company hit #134 in Forbes’ most recent list of America’s largest private companies, with an estimated $3 billion in annual revenue.
Founder Bill Gore passed away in 1986 and his widow, Genevieve Gore, died on January 20, 2005. The couple, way back in 1972, finalized a trust to pass most of their stock in the company onto the children, and ultimately their grandchildren. They smartly planned ahead, realizing how valuable their Gore-Tex invention could become and how much growth their stock could achieve. So they funded the trust through a holding company, early on, to minimize estate taxes.
Wanting to treat their heirs equally, the Gores set up five equal shares, for their five children. They created a supplemental trust so that each of the grandchildren could receive an equal amount of stock as well.
The plan worked very well … Read more...
The chairman of the Samsung Group, Lee Kun-hee, comes in at number 106 on Forbes’ list of the world’s top billionaires, with a reported net worth of $8.3 billion, as of March. But did he acquire some of that fortune illegally from his late father’s trust? That’s what his brother and sister accuse him of in a recent lawsuit that is growing uglier by the day.
In February, Kun-hee’s older brother, Lee Maeng-hee, filed the suit in Seoul, South Korea. Now joined by two other family members, the lawsuit claims that when their father, Samsung Group founder Lee Byung-chull, died in 1987, he left millions of shares in Samsung Life Insurance (the world’s 14th largest insurance company) as well as preferred stock in Samsung Electronics and cash, in trust. Specifically, he placed the asset into the name of Samsung executives for the benefit of his family. Lee Kun-hee then wrongfully took the stock and cash and transferred it into his own name, rather than dividing it among the heirs as Read more...
The New York Times recently featured a fascinating article called The Battle for a Comic-Book Empire That Archie Built. It detailed the ongoing legal battle over the two dueling CEO’s of Archie Comic Publications.
On one side is Jonathan Goldwater, the son of John L. Goldwater who was one of three founders of the company and the visionary behind the Archie character, created in 1941. Goldwater became a co-CEO and controller of one-half interest in the company after his half-brother, Richard Goldwater, died in 2007.
Nancy Silberkleit is the widow of the son of another founder, Louis Silberkleit. She was a schoolteacher who became co-CEO when her husband, Michael Silberkleit, died in 2008. By that time, a long-time employee and editor-in-chief, Victor Gorelick, was running the company as a temporary, stop-gap measure.
Goldwater and Silberkleit tried to work together to manage the company, agreeing in 2009 to run Archie Comics by sharing CEO duties. Silberkleit was to oversee scholastic and theatrical ventures, placing Goldwater in charge of everything else. Read more...