A family operating 100 hardware stores in the Midwest had to sell the business to a private equity firm in the 3rd generation of the family businesses.

The family had already endured 2 generations of paying the estate tax and realized they could not survive another.

After the sale, the business was no longer a family business, and the private equity firm who is not subject to the estate tax, laid off employees, reduced wages and benefits and changed the culture of the firm from that of serving the community to that of serving the investors.