What's in a name? It turns out - rather a lot. Two branches of the Rothschild dynasty are at legal odds over a recent name-change attempt.
Branches of the Rothschild family dynasties associated with the worlds of banking, wealth management and fine wine are locking legal horns over the right to use a form of the name.
Edmond de Rothschild Group, the European finance group, yesterday vowed to fight against the Paris-Orleans wing of the family’s attempt to rename itself as Rothschild and Co.
“Edmond de Rothschild Group has noted the decision of the extraordinary general assembly of Paris-Orléans which approved the adoption of 'Rothschild & Co' as a new legal name. We deplore this decision, which is tantamount to appropriating the use of the Rothschild family name, without any distinguishing element, and adds to confusion between the groups,” Edmond de Rothschild said in a statement yesterday.
“It is therefore with regret that Edmond de Rothschild Group has no recourse but to continue its legal proceedings to ensure that family rules are respected and that each Rothschild, in respect for family unity, is able to pursue their activities in healthy and fair competition,” it said. The statement added: “The Group also notes the refusal of the general assembly to accept two representatives of the Edmond de Rothschild Group on the supervisory board of Paris-Orléans. This decision flouts market practices, the Edmond de Rothschild Group being the second-biggest shareholder of Paris-Orléans, with 7.83 per cent of capital and 10.57 per cent of voting rights. This amounts to a discriminating practice against a reference shareholder.”
The clash highlights the complexity of the family and business structures bearing the Rothschild name. The Edmond de Rothschild Group, which is run by Benjamin de Rothschild and Ariane de Rothschild, argues that each branch of these family operations must retain a distinctive name – and avoid confusion. The family business known as Paris-Orleans, however, has chosen the new name which is an English version of the Rothschild & Cie identity used in France.
This publication is in contact with Rothschild & Co - the name now in use on its official website - seeking comment. The website said: "The Paris Orléans general meeting held on September 24, 2015 approved by a majority of 87.1 per cent the change of name from Paris Orléans to Rothschild & Co with immediate effect. From 28 September 2015, the company’s ticker symbol will be `ROTH'."
The two entities are also distinct from the NM Rothschild family business arm that operates in the UK.