Question 1: is it better to divide a family firm equally or announce a clear successor?
In my opinion, it is better to announce a clear successor.
A family firm is often operated and controlled by a member of the family to avoid principle-agent problem and for the family’s interests.
If the firm is divided equally, the family firm will be likely to be taken over or the family will lose control over the company because every member in the family holds limited shares and their interests are not likely to be aligned as well.
If a clear successor is appointed, the family firm will be less likely to be taken over because the successor holds enough shares to control the company and for anti-takeover.
Question 2: what advice do you have for the three-remaining brother about running the firm going forward? Should they continue to diversify or focus on transport?
I would recommend them to diversify.
Evergreen Corp. began with shipping operations and diversified its business in aspects of land and air transportation and hotels.
They should diversify their business because it is no longer efficient to invest in shipping industry.
So far, it has become a cash cow as it takes up great market share and shipping industry is growing steadily.
Therefore, it is hard and not efficient for them to continue investing in shipping industry.
Question 3: do you think the three brothers should split up the family firm when handing over to the third generation? Or should they hand over to professionals?
I think they should hand it over to professionals for the company as a whole.
Different departments coordinate with each other produce relatively efficient outcomes. If the family firm is split up into different firms, the firms will not be able to cooperate or coordinate at low cost, and hence less efficient.
Besides, departments that have taken lead in their industry, if split, will lose its leading position and may result in less profit because of competition and less bargaining power.
管理層與股東之間需要合理性和利益一致性，但是，在家族爭執，權力爭奪中，管理層往往會失去理性并做出與股東利益背道而馳的決策，直接導致公司的低效率運營 ，股價間接下跌。 這兩種后果都會損害經濟。 因此，政府應采取行動減少此類案件。
Question 4: based on the example, how do you think family feuds in large business groups can affect their economies? Should governments act to curtail the growth of such large groups, or to stimulate them as national champions?
Family feuds in large business harm economies. And government, for less short-run volatility in economy, should curtail the growth of such large groups.
Rationality and interest alignment of the management and its shareholders are needed, however, when it comes to family feuds, to competition for power, the management often loses their rationality and makes decisions opposing to shareholders’ interests, which results in inefficient operation of companies directly, and stock price to drop indirectly. Both consequences harm the economy. Hence, government should take action to curtail such cases.