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Simon Cohen (A)

By John Mullins, Darice Gubbins, John Walker


This is part of a case series. Simon Cohen parked his Acura SUV outside his Monterrey office, let the fingerprint scanner check his ID to open the door, and jogged upstairs past the huge poster showing containers and cranes at the port of Manzanillo. He paused for a moment in the company’s boardroom. Here, a week earlier he had agreed with his business partners how they would restructure the company’s ownership, and build on the success of the last 10 years. ‘How could Thomas change his mind?’ he wondered. Simon shook his head and strode into his office, wondering what to do. Over the previous 10 years, Simon and his three business partners – his brother Jose, Manfred Jaekel and Thomas Kroeger – had built up a successful freight forwarding business, with offices in Monterrey and Guadalajara. Manfred and Thomas ran their own separate, and longer-established branch in Mexico City. Simon had won some large, multinational customers, and had benefited from the increase in imports from China. By focusing on customer service, and by building up a hard-working team, he had grown bigger than the original Mexico City operation. There had been some friction over the years, but Manfred had proposed combining the companies into a group, and after some negotiation a verbal agreement had been struck on 15 August 2007. But, a week later, Thomas had phoned to say that he would not go ahead with the deal they had agreed. Simon was forced to reconsider his options.

Learning objectives

  1. Understand how, in a service industry such as freight forwarding (a sub-sector of the global logistics industry), competitive advantage stems above all from execution, allied to developing sound strategies to take advantage of market and industry realities and choosing good opportunities.
  2. Understand the complexities of restructuring company ownership and evaluate alternative buy-out terms in the context of family investment policy.


Publication Date: July 2011
LBS Case Code: CS-11-012
Subjects: , ,
Pages: 20
Format: pdf