Transfer of Ownership in Private Businesses – European Experiences

Transfers of ownership in private businesses are a highly topical and extraordinarily important issue in all European countries, affecting 700,000 companies and millions of jobs every year. The European Commission has analysed the conditions for business transfers in the Member States and has issued recommendations to each Member State as to what needs to be done to facilitate business transfers and safeguard jobs. In this respect, Sweden can be seen as a model country after the Social Democratic government and then the centre-right Alliance for Sweden government abolished Swedish inheritance, gift and wealth taxes.

Against this backdrop, it felt both logical and urgent to arrange a European conference in Sweden on transfers of ownership. We wanted to show how far research has come in the area, and the location made sense, as Sweden is an intriguing example of how policy decisions can facilitate business transfers.

Transfers of ownership involve many and varied questions, not least among them the emotional and family-related aspects when family members switch roles and new owners or new managers step into the company. It is particularly important that the transfer of ownership is dealt with in a timely manner so that the myriad issues can be skilfully handled within the ownership circle.

For Sweden, it is imperative that our lead over other countries in tax respects is not eliminated. Research shows that transfers of ownership are hard enough, and should not be further impeded by forcing the people involved to once again focus on the tax consequences.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone involved in the conference: speakers, participants and arrangers.

Download the Conference Report (PDF).