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Family business roundup: Rieber family sells, Getty and Gokongwei families buy into own companies

The family behind food company Rieber & Son has sold its business to a larger group, while the Getty and Gokongwei families have bought into their own operations.

The family behind food company Rieber & Son has sold its business to a larger group, while the Getty and Gokongwei families have bought into their own operations.

The Rieber family is selling 90.11% – its entire shareholding – in Norway’s Rieber & Son to consumer goods conglomerate Orkla, the company announced on 20 August. The sale will bring an end to 173 years of family ownership – the firm was founded by Paul Gottlieb Rieber as a trading company in 1839.

The remaining shares – listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange – will also be bought by Orkla once the deal with the Rieber family is completed. The sale values Rieber & Son at 6.1 billion Norwegian krone (€833 million), on a debt–free basis.

In a statement, the firm said the merger of the two Norwegian groups will create a “leading Nordic food company” that can compete with “large, international players".

Across the Atlantic, the Getty family has entered into a partnership with private equity firm the Carlyle Group to buy Getty Images for $3.3 billion (€2.68 billion) from fellow PE group Hellman & Friedman.

The deal will reportedly increase the stake of Mark Getty, co-founder and chairman of Getty Images, his family and the management to nearly 50% from around 30%. At the time of publication, the company had not responded to a request for information. Hellman & Friedman acquired Getty Images in 2008.

In the Philippines, Universal Robina Corporation, the Gokongwei family’s food and beverage company, said it is buying the shares of URC International it doesn’t already own for 7.2 billion Philippine pesos (€137 million), taking full ownership of the Singapore-based unit. URC owned 77% of URCI prior to the transaction and is buying the remaining stake from International Horizons Investment – a privately held firm also controlled by the same family.

In a statement last week, the family business said the move was to “fully capture the strong growth in its international operations". URCI, which manufactures and distributes URC brands in China and south-east Asia, had revenues of $350 million for the first nine months of fiscal 2012.

Meanwhile, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s bid for a major stake in Telekom Austria is reportedly likely to push through, even as the company warned of lower revenues. On 16 August, the business lowered its full-year 2012 revenue forecast to €4.2 billion from €4.4 billion.
 

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