Family feuding may disrupt Hyatt float

20th Oct 2009
Family feuding may disrupt Hyatt float

The Hyatt hotels chain is due to float on the stockmarket but arguments within the wealthy founding family are threatening to disrupt the process with amendments to Hyatt’s IPO prospectus including specific warnings about the infighting of the Pritzkers.

Reported squabbling within the family “may arise or continue in the future” and threaten to “disrupt our business,” according to a document filed last week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission related to Hyatt Hotels Corp.‘s planned stock offering.

The Pritzkers, who hold an 85% controlling stake in Hyatt are arguing over restrictions on what family members can do with their shares. Some restrictions have been loosened as a result, and family members will be able to sell up to 25% of their holdings each 12 months, instead of the 20% originally proposed.

Hyatt is chaired by Thomas Pritzker, son of the company’s founder, whose wealth was estimated by Forbes this year at $1.3bn. Among the company’s independent directors is a cousin, Penny Pritzker, who is among the trustees of the family’s investments. Given her family ties, corporate governance specialists have questioned whether she should truly be considered an independent director.


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