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Family business roundup: Merck, Grupo Aval, and Ikea

Merck to acquire US Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion; Colombian family-owned bank raises $1.26 billion at IPO; and Ikea announces €2 billion expansion in Russia

Merck to acquire US Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion; Colombian family-owned bank raises $1.26 billion at IPO; and Ikea announces €2 billion expansion in Russia

Merck to acquire US Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion 

German pharmaceutical company Merck, 70% owned by the eponymous founding family, has agreed to buy US firm Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion (€13.3 billion) in order to bolster its laboratory supplies business. 

The Darmstadt-based firm, founded in the 17th century, said the deal would allow Merck to generate a steady stream of revenue by supplying drugmakers and academic institutions with chemicals. 

"With this acquisition we have the opportunity to turn one of our most reliable businesses into a core earnings contributor," said Marcus Kuhnert, chief financial officer at Merck. 

Colombian family-owned bank raises $1.26 billion at IPO

Columbian banking group Grupo Aval has raised $1.26 billion (€990 million) from its initial public offering this week. 

The IPO was above the $1.1 billion prediction and shares debuted at $13.63 per share. 

Columbia’s richest man, Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo, owns 95% of shares. His son Luis Carlos Jr is tipped to one day succeed his father.

Grupo Aval controls approximately 30% of Columbia’s financial system and is the largest conglomerate in Central America. The Group has more than $86 billion assets under management.  

Ikea announces €2 billion expansion in Russia

Swedish retailer Ikea, owned by the Kamprad family, has announced plans to invest €2 billion in expanding its operations in Russia, with a proposed deadline of 2020. 

The flat pack furniture company will open at least five new “mega” stores in Mytishchi, St Petersburg, Voronezh, Perm and Krasnoyarsk, bringing the total number of mega stores in the country to 19. 

In 2011 Ikea announced it would freeze investment in Russia after suggesting that the country was susceptible to corruption and often showed signs of unpredictable bureaucracy. 

Head of Ikea shopping centres Russia Armin Mikaeli said the company has since re-evaluated its policies after finding that the situation had improved. 

More than 270 million Russians shopped in Ikea in 2013 and sales increased by 6%. 


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