In December 2017, shares of real estate company Omaxe Ltd were trading at around Rs 230 apiece. Over the next few months, an ongoing family fight erupted in full public view with Sunil Goel, who had earlier been evicted as joint managing director, dragging his brother and group chairman Rohtas Goel to the National Company Law Tribunal, after accusing him of “financial mismanagement” and “fraudulent transactions”. Since then, the firm has eroded nearly 70% of its market value to the detriment of its public shareholders.
It is an all-too-familiar tale. Whatever the causes and the consequences may be for the participants themselves, infighting in a business family is invariably value-destroying for the outside shareholders. Families fight over control, succession, funds, or merely because of egos. But like the grass between two irate bulls, it is the shareholders, particularly the small ones, who get hurt the most.
Indian business history is littered with instances