Table: The Wallenbergs' Woes
SHAREHOLDER VALUE VS. NOBLESSE OBLIGE
The Wallenbergs are caught in a conflict between being business owners and something close to Swedish royalty. Preserving jobs and doing good deeds are not always compatible with maximizing shareholder value.
It's hard to raise new equity at growth companies such as Ericsson without diluting controlling stakes.
Sweden's leading industrialists have failed to dazzle and are showing returns of minus 18% this year.
SLOW OFF THE MARK
Investor poured money into tech at the top of the cycle, leading to big write-offs. Their crown jewel, Ericsson, wasn't nimble enough to keep pace with Nokia. Too slow to restructure rustbelt holdings ABB and ball-bearing maker SKF.