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Wendel targets “same DNA” family businesses

French investment company Wendel, controlled by the eponymous family, is targeting other family businesses in Europe for acquisitions, thanks to a similarity in “DNA”.
Non-family chief executive of Wendel, Frederic Lemoine, is eyeing up family businesses in Europe

French investment company Wendel, controlled by the eponymous family, is targeting other family businesses in Europe for acquisitions, thanks to a similarity in “DNA”.

That’s according to a spokeswoman for Wendel, who confirmed to CampdenFB that the group was eyeing up family-run businesses in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

“They have the same DNA as Wendel – they are family-run and focus on innovation with a long-term view,” she said.

Her comments follow a recent interview with Frederic Lemoine, the non-family chief executive of Wendel, who told the Financial Times that he was “keen to target family-owned businesses in northern Europe”.

The spokeswoman added that the Paris-based group was looking at companies whose “equity value was between €200 million and €500 million”.

“The focus is not just on family businesses, but also on companies that are number one in their sectors,” she added. “The acquisitions would often be done partly in cash and partly using debt.”

The investment firm, which is 34.4% owned by the founding family through holding vehicle Wendel-Participations, will also try building stakes in companies where these is no next-gen family member to take charge in the future.

“Wendel will invest in those groups that are looking for a new owner,” said the spokeswoman.

Descendants of Jean-Martin Wendel, who founded the company in 1704, are part of the group’s holding vehicle. Family member Ernest-Antoine Seilliere serves as chairman of the supervisory board of Wendel, which is listed on the Paris stock exchange.

The company had 2010 revenues of €5.49 billion, up from €4.67 billion the year before.

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