Lund family food business at the center of sibling dispute
A recent story summarizes the sibling dispute among the owners of the Lunds & Byerlys chain of grocery stores. Lunds & Byerlys is one of the main grocers in the Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Company was found by Russell Lund in 1939. It has grown to 26 stores in Minnesota.
The dispute is among four of his grandchildren, Kim, Tres, Shauna Lund McFeeley, and Robert Lund. Russell Lund gave ownership and control to the company to his four grandchildren through a series of trusts. As a result, each of the siblings holds a 25% ownership.
The dispute dates back to 1992 when Kim Lund first talked about cashing out some equity. This matter would come up from time to time but no steps were taken.
Kim Lund’s attempts to cash out her holdings failed. In 2014 she commenced a lawsuit claiming that Tres was offering a fire-sale price for her shares by suggesting they are worth $21 million. Kim Lund’s position was that the shares were worth $80.4 million. She also alleged that Tres had many conflicts of interest and was acting to lock her in as a shareholder.
Kim and Tres’ brother, Robert, has filed an affidavit in Court taking the position that whatever the outcome, he does not want the grocer to be sold or taken public in a stock offering.
Kim is seeking fair market value for her shares, or a court ordered sale of the company with damages.
On the other hand, lawyers for Tres have argued that a buy-out at Kim’s price would result in significant debt for the company. As a result, the company would suffer in the highly competitive grocer market.
Judge may ultimately decide the outcome of the dispute
This dispute seems like a good scenario for mediation. A mediation would allow the parties to determine the outcome. Although they have likely attempted to negotiate a resolution, further efforts by all parties may be required.
Allowing the Court to rule on this dispute can have unintended consequences for all the parties involved. Furthermore, the parties would have to live with the outcome or alternatively, incur further legal costs appealing the Court ruling.
Mediation seems like the best way to deal with this dispute.
More on this story here.