SWEDEN: The Wallenberg Grip

Four decades of Social Democrats have governed Sweden, but four generations of Wallenbergs have controlled much of it. In a country where socialism is as familiar as smorgasbord, the 202-year-old dynasty retains a remarkable grip: complete or partial control of 30 major Swedish firms, including nine of the country's 15 largest. For all the Wallenbergs' influence, the family bank, Stockholms Enskilda, is relatively small.

Last week the Wallenbergs announced the creation of a bank befitting the rest of their empire. On Jan. 1, Stockholms Enskilda will merge with Sweden's second largest commercial bank, Skandinaviska Banken, to form Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken. The...

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