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Drawing a bead on a Swedish dynasty

The Wallenberg family presides over some of Sweden’s most famed industrial names such as Ericsson and Saab. Its grip over the Investor AB trust seems unassailable. But is it? Martin Ebner of BZ Bank is probing their defences and questioning the dynamism of the top management. These protagonists have crossed swords before.

       
Jacob Wallenberg
       
Marcus Wallenberg

Marcus and Jacob Wallenberg carry a heavy burden. Four generations of their family have bequeathed them a business that must be the envy of many less secure European industrialists and a reputation that epitomizes Swedish enterprise and cool efficiency. Their investment trust, Investor AB, owns massive parcels of shares ranging from Ericsson to AstraZeneca, OM to SEB, giving it not only a great spread of businesses, but also unparalleled influence over management and industrial practice across Sweden and other parts of northern Europe. The net asset value of the stakes is some Skr120 billion ($11.5

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