» more from Family Business, Private Wealth

Puma and Adidas

Brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler founded a shoe company in their mother's laundry room in the town of Herzogenaurach, Germany, in 1924. But it soon became apparent that the siblings had different personalities, and tensions between the two came to a boiling point during World War II.

Rudolf was sent to the front and, after his return, was picked up by U.S. soldiers and imprisoned for about a year. He reportedly was convinced that his imprisonment was orchestrated by his brother. The brothers split in 1948, and Rudolf Dassler founded the company that would become Puma. Adi formally registered Adidas in 1949. The rivalry between the brothers even divided the town of Herzogenaurach, where Adidas and Puma still have rival factories on opposite sides of the river. (Rudolf died in 1974 at age 76, Adolf in 1977 at 78; never reconciled, they were reportedly buried at opposite ends of the same cemetery.)

The feud came to a symbolic end on Global Peace Day in 2009, though, when employees of both factories played football together, pitting mixed Puma and Adidas teams against each other. The “Black” team of the companies' CEOs beat the “White” team 7:5.

Source: National Public Radio, peace.puma.com

Photo: STR | AFP | Getty Images Left: Puma CEO Jochen Seitz. Right: Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer