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Family Business Roundup: Reckitt Benckiser, Kinnevik, and National Amusements

Reckitt Benckiser CEO apologises for steriliser scandal; Kinnevik drops representatives from Rocket Internet; and Sumner Redstone trial to open with video

Reckitt Benckiser CEO apologises for steriliser scandal

Rakesh Kapoor, the non-family chief executive of British multinational consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser, has apologised for the sale of deadly disinfectants linked to fatal lung injuries in South Korea.

The apology came in the same week as Reckitt shareholders protested the chief executive’s £23.2 million ($33.6 million) pay package.

Reckitt Benckiser sold millions of bottles of liquid disinfectant, called Oxy Ssak Ssak, containing the harmful chemicals for about a decade and was blamed for 100 deaths.

Speaking to shareholders in London at the annual meeting, Kapoor said Reckitt had changed its safety procedures to “make sure nothing like this never happens again.”

The second-generation of the Reimann family owns an 8% stake in Reckitt Benckiser through holding company JAB, which is mostly owned by four siblings: Renate Reimann-Haas, Wolfgang Reimann, Stefan Reimann-Andersen, and Matthias Reimann-Andersen.

Kinnevik drops representatives from Rocket Internet

Swedish investment company Kinnevik is pulling two of its representatives from the supervisory board of Rocket Internet SE, one of Germany’s highest-profile Internet companies, after a sharp decline in its share prices.

The Berlin-based company has seen share prices plummet over the past year, as investors become increasingly concerned over how rapidly the company is spending cash.

Last week Rocket and Kinnevik slashed the valuation of their jointly-held retailer, Global Fashion Group, to €1 billion ($1.1 billion) from its most recent valuation of €3.04 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Members of the Stenbeck family control almost half of the votes in Kinnevik, which posted revenues of $6.3 billion in 2014. In March, Cristina Stenbeck, the main shareholder of Kinnevik, stepped down from her role as executive chairman.

Sumner Redstone trial to open with video

The trail to determine the mental competency of second-generation Viacom and CBS chairman Sumner Redstone will open with 30 minutes of video testimony from the nonagenarian, according to the NY Times.

Manuela Herzer, a former companion and romantic partner of Redstone, initiated the court case after he removed her from a directive last year that would give her control over his health care.

Herzer is suing to be reinstated as Mr. Restone’s health care agent. If found to have lacked mental capacity it could have major ramifications on the 92-year-old’s media empire.

The video will be followed by testimony from Dr Stephen L Read, a psychiatrist that examined Redstone, and additional statements from Redstone’s granddaughter, Keryn Redstone, and Viacom chief executive, Philippe Dauman.

Redstone’s father founded theatre company National Amusements, which controls CBS and Viacom, in 1936. Today it operates more than 1,500 movie screens across the globe and had revenues of $13 billion in 2014.

Over the last year, Redstone has been forced to defend his role at the helm of both family empires, with investors and media speculating about his ailing health. He has been married twice, with both ending in divorce.


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