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The third generation pisses it away.

The Mars family seem to be doing OK. They're down to 4th and 5th generations now. There's often speculation that Buffett will make them an offer they can't refuse, nothing yet.

Of course there are exceptions! "Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta", for example, was founded in 1526 to make arquebus barrels, and ever since has been run by the same family, father-to-son until a couple generations ago when both sons of the previous CEO were son-less and a son-in-law was adopted into the family (his sons now run the company). Five centuries is pretty extreme (maybe 15-20 generations?), but "more than 3 generation" isn't that rare.
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