11 largest family businesses in the world

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With the rise of globalization, it’s sometimes difficult to find a family-owned business unless you live in a rural area. Still, there are some large corporations in the world that are still owned by family members generations after they were founded.

Last year, Credit Suisse introduced the CS Global Family 900 universe. This database shows the 920 largest family-owned companies in the world, including Novartis, Volkswagen, Sun Pharmaceutical, and Walmart. The companies on this list can be found in 35 countries around the world though 64 percent come from Emerging Asia.

Credit Suisse analysts wrote about the list, “In more developed markets, we see more fragmented ownership and many families selling out over time as a general theme.” this is why, according to the analysts, “only one-third of family-owned businesses last into a second generation of ownership, 12% to a third and just 3% to a fourth.”

Some of the companies on this list, however, have been controlled by families for generations.

Here are the top 11 largest family businesses in the world.

#1 – Novartis


Family: Sandoz

Market Cap: $279 billion

Country: Switzerland

Novartis was created in 1996 after a merger between Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz. The descendants of Sandoz founder Edouard Sandoz still own a substantial amount of Novartis shares. The Sandoz Family Foundation is the pharmaceutical company’s single largest shareholder. Because of this, the foundation’s president, Pierre Landolt, sits on the company’s Board of Directors.

#2 – Roche


Family: Hoffman-Oeri

Market Cap: $254 billion

Country: Switzerland

Like Novartis, pharmaceuticals company Roche is based in Switzerland and also largely family-owned. The company was founded by Fritz Hofmann-La Roche as a cough syrup company. Today, Roche produces some of the world’s best cancer drugs. Fritz’s heirs also control more than half of the company’s bearer shares. The Hoffmann-Oeri family also boasts several billionaires, including Dr. Andreas Oeri and André Hofmann, who sit on Roche’s Board of Directors.

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#3 – Walmart


Family: Walton

Market Cap: $241 billion

Country: United States

Siblings Alice, Rob, and Jim Walton together own about half of Walmart through Walton Enterprises. This stake makes the trio some of the wealthiest people in the world. The discount big-box store was founded by their dad, Sam Walton. The brothers sit on the company’s board of directors and are worth about $35 billion. Their cousins are also billionaires, thanks to the company’s shares. The company’s current chairman is Rob Walton’s son-in-law Gregory Penner, who took over last year.

#4 – Facebook


Family: Zuckerberg

Market Cap: $225 billion

Country: United States

Facebook remains a family business because founder Mark Zuckerberg owns just under one-third of the company. His older sister, Randi, was once a marketing executive at the social media company before she left to start her own firm. Zuckerberg’s father also owns a chunk of the business, since Mark gave him 2,000,000 shares of Facebook to thank him. The patriarch gave his son some money during the company’s earliest years.

#5 – Oracle


Family: Ellison

Market Cap: $192 billion

Country: United States

Larry Ellison founded Oracle and still serves as Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of the software company. Oracle helped propel Ellison into his spot as America’s third-richest man. His children Megan and David own stock in the company but it’s unlikely they will take over the family business. The siblings are both film producers.

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Written by Melissa Stusinski

Melissa Stusinski

Melissa Stusinksi is a professional journalist. She has written for some of the biggest news websites in the United States. She loves spending time outdoors and reading books in her spare time. She can be reached at MelissaStusinski@BusinessPundit.com or (929) 265-0240.