29 April 2012
The future of Bell’s Brewery Inc. ownership may be up in the air. The brewery may be sold, but the story isn’t exactly what you think. In an attempt to guarantee that the brewery is passed down to future generations of the Bell family, Larry has been negotiating with stock holders to buy back the shares he needs to ensure his children will own the brewery in the future. Unfortunately, those negotiations are not going well, and should the negotiations fail, Larry will potentially resort to selling the brewery out now rather than risk his family losing the brewery should anything happen to him. This from MLive:
As early as fall, the decision to sell the nation's 13th largest brewery could be made depending on the outcome of ongoing negotiations with several minority shareholders, company president Larry Bell said.
About $22 million has been spent on the brewhouse and renovating the Eccentric Cafe in downtown Kalamazoo, but the rest of the project is on hold as the company tries to save money in an attempt to buy out 11 of the 14 shareholders, Bell said.
Bell, 53, and his two children, Laura and David, own a majority of the company's shares, which total 60,000, according to Michigan's Department Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. He said his goal is to pass Bell’s Brewery Inc. on to the next generation, but he hasn’t ruled out selling their shares if a resolution cannot be reached.
“Unfortunately with the growth and the size the company has gotten to, the alarms are going off to where we have to figure it out or do something else,” Bell said. “I don’t want to sell, but it’s a great time to sell if I had to. There are many willing buyers.
"If it was just a family business, there would be legal maneuvers we could make that would facilitate that kind of transfer across generations. With its current structure, I'm not able to do those sorts of things. It would basically leave us in the position of selling the company upon my death." More details here.