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FB Roundup: Grupo Bal, JAB Holding, Crown Resorts

Mexican billionaire Alberto Bailleres transfers empire to son, Peter Harf succeeded by young deal-maker at Reimann family’s JAB Holding, James Packer’s Crown Resorts leans towards Star merger and away from Blackstone takeover.

Mexican billionaire Alberto Bailleres transfers empire to son

Alberto Bailleres, the fourth wealthiest person in Mexico, has made way for his son as the principal of his business conglomerate Grupo Bal after more than five decades.

Businessman Bailleres (pictured), 89, stepped down as president from the group and its diversified companies with immediate effect during a board meeting in late April. He and his family are worth $9.6 billion, according to Forbes.

Grupo Bal, founded in 1901, consists of 15 companies in trade, energy, metallurgy, finance, insurance, pensions, investments, agriculture, health care and music. Among the eight most significant subsidiaries are Industrias Penoles, which is the second largest Mexican mining company, the first Mexican producer of gold, zinc and lead and the world leader in silver production. Pension fund manager Profuturo and the upmarket department store chain El Palacio de Hierro are also major businesses within the group.

Second-generation Bailleres, who turns 90 in August, was invited by the board to become honorary president in recognition of his 54 years as head of the group. One of his seven children, Alejandro Bailleres (pictured), 61, a director of the group and its Penoles and Fresnillo mining firms, was elected by the board as his father’s successor.

The elder Bailleres entered the business world aged 20 in 1951 at the Banco de Comercio. He worked his way up to the position of branch manager while still an undergraduate student until his graduation in 1956. Alberto Bailleres excelled in sales and was named chief executive of El Palacio de Hierro in 1963. He was also promoted to chief executive and director for the brewer Cervecería Moctezuma by 1964.

Alberto Bailleres took control of Grupo Bal at the age of 36 after the death of his father, Raul Bailleres, aged 72, in 1967. Raul Bailleres, a self-educated precious metals businessman, is remembered as the founder of the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico, or ITAM, a highly regarded private university and think tank, in 1946. Alberto Bailleres himself studied economics at ITAM then went on to financially support the institution and serve as its chairman for the past 36 years.

Peter Harf succeeded by young deal-maker at Reimann family’s JAB Holding

Peter Harf, consigliere of the reclusive German billionaire Reimann family over four decades, will be succeeded as the principal of the family’s $50 billion JAB Holding Company by the youngest partner in the company’s history.

The private global investment firm, headquartered in Luxembourg, manages and invests the wealth of the Reimanns and other families. It announced Harf will be succeeded by Joachim Creus (pictured), 44. The senior partner was praised for successfully negotiating $100 billion in deals and was described as a trusted confidante of the Reimann family.

Harf (pictured), 75, is the non-family managing partner and chairman of JAB Holding. He joined the family office in 1981 and founded its investment firm structure in 2012. Under his supervision, JAB’s managed capital grew from $100 million to more than $50 billion.

The firm went on a headline-grabbing multiyear acquisition spree in the consumer sector in the 2010s. Harf became chief executive and chairman of several of JAB’s acquired companies, including chairman of Coty and a director of JDE Peet’s and Keurig Dr Pepper.

However, in early May, JAB announced it had appointed Creus as vice chairman of the JAB board where he will serve as the designated successor to Harf. The Belgian will continue to be based in London and work with JAB’s managing partners to oversee the family office’s managed capital, including its JAB Consumer Fund. Creus is a director for several JAB companies, including JDE Peet’s and Coty.

“The Reimanns were always of the view that my successor needed to essentially be a part of their extended family,” Harf said.

“Joachim has spent the last 10 years getting to know them and the next generation of leadership, while progressively taking on ever more important roles in the family office and the operating entities. Given his impeccable moral compass and intimate understanding of the family’s priorities, nobody is better positioned than Joachim to lead the next period of growth."

James Packer’s Crown Resorts leans towards Star merger and away from Blackstone takeover

The beleaguered casino empire of billionaire Australian heir James Packer is mulling a new merger bid from Australian rival Star Entertainment Group while rejecting a $6.54 billion takeover offer from US private equity firm Blackstone.

The Crown board announced today it asked Star Entertainment for “certain information to… better understand various preliminary matters” to help its assessment of the merger proposal. The board said there was no certainty the proposal would result in a transaction.

Star Entertainment is an ASX 100 listed company that owns and operates The Star Sydney, The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane. The $1.8 billion group lodged a conditional, non-binding and indicative proposal to merge with Crown Resorts last week. The merger would create an estimated $9.3 billion ASX-listed national tourism and entertainment leader, Star said.

The proposition and Crown Resorts’ lean towards it came as the Crown board dismissed Blackstone’s bid for not offering enough, despite the US firm’s attempt to sweeten the deal with a 4% increase per share earlier in May.

“The board unanimously concluded that the revised proposal undervalues Crown and is not in the best interests of Crown’s shareholders,” Crown said. Blackstone has yet to announce if it will submit a counter proposal.

Packer’s private investment company Consolidated Press Holdings holds a majority 37% stake in Crown. Blackstone, which already owns 10% of Crown shares, revised its valuation of Crown upwards slightly to $6.54 billion and Packer’s stake at about $2.2 billion.

Packer (pictured), 53, left the Crown board in 2018 citing mental health reasons. He indicated his interest in selling his stake and appeared to defer to the remaining board members on the final exit strategy. However, Consolidated Press said in April it welcomed the Crown board’s engagement with “relevant stakeholders” on the Blackstone offer.

The reclusive billionaire and Crown Resorts face continued scrutiny this week when the Australian state of Victoria launches its public inquiry into the suitability of Crown Melbourne (pictured) to hold a casino licence.

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