When it comes to employee commitment, family-owned businesses often can't be beat. But while family ties have helped make the companies some of the most successful in Latin America, they can also hasten breakdown when times get tough, or a family member decides to cash out. Panellists discussed these issues and others at Latin Lawyer's 5th Annual M&A Conference in São Paulo.

You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family, or so the old adage goes. Perhaps nowhere is that maxim more tested than within the pressurised environment of a family-owned business. With blood ties interlaced with career progression, and family dynamics mingled with profit pools and corporate governance, the shifting boundaries between the corporate world and home environment can make for a charged atmosphere. With the average family business lasting three generations, during which time they may have accumulated enough market share to make it an attractive target for a local rival or private equity buyer, it is often when one, or several of the family members, want to transfer ownership outside of the family tree for the first time that conflict comes bubbling to the surfasse.

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