Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2000 (Revised May 2000)

Spec's Music (A)

by John A. Davis and Susan Harmeling


Presents the story of a music retailer in Miami which started in the late 1940s, grew throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and went public in 1985 before experiencing a deep industry crisis in the mid-1990s. At issue in 1996 is whether the company should attempt to sell again after an aborted sale attempt two years earlier. Should the owners try again to sell before the industry economics become so unattractive as to make a future sale impossible? Or should they hold out, try to improve performance, and then try to sell in a couple more years? This question is asked against the backdrop of a strong history as a family-owned company. Martin Spector, the company's founder, has turned the company over to his daughters, Ann (CEO) and Roz (COO), who still defer to him on major decisions. In the context of the important decision of whether to sell the company, the family dynamics take center stage.

Keywords: History; Family Business; Business Exit or Shutdown; Decision Choices and Conditions; Management Succession; Entrepreneurship; Crisis Management; Performance Improvement; Music Industry; Miami;


Davis, John A., and Susan Harmeling. "Spec's Music (A)." Harvard Business School Case 800-336, March 2000. (Revised May 2000.)