Fiat, the struggling Italian car manufacturer, was shaken by the death, at 81, of its patriarch Giovanni Agnelli.
Fast-forward to the last few weeks, and it has taken a small home-grown British company to put these greater dynasties to shame. With a restraint worthy of its image, Saga, the holidays-to-insurance group aimed at the elderly, quietly put itself up for sale.
With an estimated £1bn price tag, this gave the Moores family something to gripe about. Although the 40-odd Moores beneficiaries each made just under £19m from the sale, three brothers will share in the Saga fortune.
Saga’s founder, Sidney De Haan, died last year, leaving the business in the hands of his eldest son, Roger.
Incidentally, if you thought Saga is all about holidays for pensioners, you are wrong. Around 80% of its profits come from selling insurance.
I wonder what the Clark family made of it all? C&J Clark, which makes Clarks shoes, was nearly torn apart a decade ago when a faction of the family wanted to sell out. The whole embarrassing affair exploded into the open.
Since then, the business has enjoyed a renaissance, but there will always be those who want to cash in their chips.
They shouldn’t get their hopes up. Around 500 family members speak for about 70% of the Clarks shares. After tax, there may not be much left to go round.
It is a bit like the time in 1995 when the National Lottery paid out a £16.2m jackpot. Trouble was, 133 people had picked the winning numbers.
Not much of a prize, really.
Does Darwin's theory apply to taxation? Colin ponders...
The EC has been instructed to draft a European Union (EU) directive authorising an EU financial transaction tax, which would apply to ten of the EU’s 28 member states
Accountancy watchdog the FRC has dropped its investigation into the former chief financial officer of Tesco, nearly two years after the supermarket was engulfed in an accounting scandal
Colin imagines how Apple's logo might change in the wake of the EC's ruling over its Irish tax arrangements