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Family Business Roundup: Belk, Schaeffler, and New World Development

Belk department stores sold for $3 billion; Schaeffler posts double-digit revenue increase; and Chinese billionaire Adrian Cheng to build 17 shopping centres

Belk department stores sold for $3 billion

American department store chain Belk, owned by the eponymous family for more than 125 years, has been acquired by private equity firm Sycamore Partners in a deal valued at $3 billion.

According to a company statement, Sycamore will pay $68 in cash for every share, in what will be the biggest ever deal for the New York-based firm.

Third-gen Tim Belk will continue as chief executive, providing that the deal is approved by the majority of key shareholders.

Belk, founded by William Henry Belk in 1888, posted revenues of $4 billion as of October 2014 and is the nation’s largest privately-owned department store chain.

Staff will retain their positions and there will be no store closures. The only employment shakeup mentioned is the departure of Johnny Belk, chief operating officer, at the end of July.

Schaeffler posts double-digit revenue increase

German industrial group Schaeffler has reported a 12.4% increase in its revenue for the first half of 2014 to €6.7 billion ($7.5 billion).

The second-generation family business, currently headed up by Georg Schaeffler, said the increase was driven by its automotive business, which has outpaced global production rates.

"We have continued along our path of profitable growth during the first half of 2015. Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler AG, said during the presentation of the results. “Our business has now grown for six consecutive quarters.”

Automotive News Europe reported last week that Schaeffler plans to cut up to 500 jobs at its industrial division, mostly in Germany and Europe, where slow delivery chains and overly centralised sales operations are hurting profits.

The Schaeffler Group was founded in 1946 by brothers Wilhelm and Georg Schaeffler. It is jointly owned by 68-year-old Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler, the late Georg’s wife, and their son, who is also named Georg.

Chinese billionaire Adrian Cheng to build 17 shopping centres

Adrian Cheng, vice chairman at Hong Kong family business New World Development, plans to build 17 new shopping malls in China, which will double up as gallery spaces.

The third-gen in no stranger to the art world, opening the non-profit K11 Art Foundation in 2010, which helps incubate young contemporary artist and has a permanent collection including works from Damien Hurst and Olafur Eliasson.

A spokesman for Cheng told The Art Newspaper: “We have 19 projects planned under the K11 brand, all of which are in China. When I say project, it includes mostly museum-retail art malls and also offices. Hong Kong and Shanghai are both in operation, so the remainder will be ready by 2020.”

Cheng is one of the youngest billionaires in the world at just 35-years-old and his family is thought to have a net worth of $11.3 billion, according to Forbes.

Cheng, like his sister, was educated at Harvard, graduating with an arts degree. They both featured in CampdenFB's Top 60 Family Business Leaders for 2014.

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