Share |

FB Roundup: Bollinger, Springer and Packer

Bollinger family buys into UK wine merchant, Springer family and KKR consider bid to take Axel Springer private, and James Packer sells half his stake in Crown to Hong Kong's Melco

Bollinger family buys into UK wine merchant

One of France’s most established winemaking families has bought a minority stake in a UK-based fine wine merchant backed by City tycoon Michael Spencer.

Société Jacques Bollinger (SJB), the family-owned holding company behind Bollinger and Ayala Champagnes, is understood to have acquired a minority stake of up to 10% in BI Wines and Spirits.

BI said the investment by the Bollinger family would be used to grow its online wine-trading platform, Live Trade, while SJB would benefit from BI’s knowledge of the global fine wine market.

“It is a long-term strategic move for us,” Etienne Bizot, chairman of SJB, said.

“In addition to the investment it represents, we believe fine wine consumers will increasingly wish to be connected to the Estates that they follow and the Bollinger family wishes to lead initiative that will enable a deeper understanding of our unique terroir and style.”

BI was founded in 1997 by Gary Boom and is chaired billionaire entrepreneur Michael Spencer. It has grown to become a global fine wine merchant with offices in London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Singapore. Last year, it posted sales of £95 million.

SBJ is one of the last remaining 100% family-owned groups in the French wine industry and is also the holding company for Chanson Père and Fils in Burgundy, Langlois-Chateau in the Loire Valley and Delamain in Cognac.

Springer family and KKR consider bid to take Axel Springer private

The Springer family and US private equity firm KKR are considering a bid to take German publishing house Axel Springer private.

Axel Springer said it is in negotiations with KKR and Friede Springer—the widow of Axel Springer who has the largest stake—and chief executive Mathaias Doepfner for a potential strategic investment by KKR in the company.

According to the company statement, the aim of the talk is to create a consortium consisting of KKR along with the holding companies of Springer and Doepfner (both pictured right), which would then make an offer to buy out the remaining shareholders.

“By exploring this transaction the board is pursuing its growth strategy aimed at raising the long-term value of the company,” the statement said.

“As an investor that is focused on the long term, KKR wants to support this strategy as a member of the consortium.”

Family-controlled Axel Springer is the owner of Germany’s best-selling tabloid, Bild, and the conservative broadsheet Die Welt. It also has a 50% stake in online sites Business Insider and Politico Europe. The group has a market value of $5.51 billion and reported sales of €3.2 billion last year.

James Packer sells half his stake in Crown to Melco

Australian billionaire and casino mogul James Packer has agreed to sell nearly 50% of his remaining stake in Crown Resorts Ltd to Macau billionaire Lawrence Ho’s Melco.

Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH), Packers private investment company confirmed it had sold 19.99% of its shareholding in Crown Resorts to Melco Resorts and Entertainment for an aggregate purchase price of $1.76 billion—equivalent to $13 per share.

Once the share sale is complete, CPH will own about 26% of Crown Resorts and will remain represented on the Crown board.

“The sale allows me to continue my long term involvement with Crown and at the same time to better diversity my investment portfolio,” Packer said.

James Packer, is the son of the late Kerry Packer, who is considered one of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs. Kerry inherited a media company from his father, Sir Frank Packer and grew it into an empire worth $5 billion. He died in 2005, leaving it to James who sold most of the family’s media assets to a Hong Kong based private equity firm for $4 billion and moved into casinos.

Lawrence Ho, chief executive of Melco, is the son of legendary entrepreneur Stanley Ho, 97, the founder and chairman of SJM Holdings, which owns 19 casinos in Macau. After having a stroke in 2009, Stanley Ho began steps to ensure a smooth succession of his empire to his four wives and 17 children. Lawrence became chairman and chief executive, while another son, Ian Fok, succeeded Ho as chairman of SJM Holding this year.

Click here >>