Aldi is a leading global discount supermarket chain, based in Germany with almost 10,000 stores in 18 countries, and an estimated turnover of more than €50bn. It happens to be one of the world’s largest privately owned companies.
Aldi was founded by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht in 1946. Later in the 1960s the business was split into two separate groups, Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd serving north and south Germany respectively. Karl Albrecht retained ownership of Aldi Süd, while Aldi Nord was co-owned by Berthold and Theo Albrecht Jr., sons of Theo Albrecht.
Theo Albrecht died in 2010 and soon thereafter his son Berthold died in 2012, triggering a court battle for control of one of the foundations that hold the family’s shares in the company. Babette, the widow of his brother Berthold, succeeded via court action in installing two of her daughters to lead a foundation that controls Berthold’s 19.5 percent stake in Aldi Nord.
Now this long-standing dispute among the heirs of the German supermarket chain once again returned to the public eye, when Theo Albrecht Jr accused his sister-in-law of stealing assets. He also accused Babette and her daughters of blocking key company decisions. These acquisitions have been vehemently denied, however the ensuing dispute could threaten the future of the business.