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Family Business Roundup: BlueCrest, Louis Dreyfus, and Volkswagen

BlueCrest to close Hedge Fund and return outsider money; Louis Dreyfus family ask to be bought out; and Volkswagen sales drop 25% in US

BlueCrest to close Hedge Fund and return outsider money

BlueCrest Capital Management, the hedge fund founded by billionaire Michael Platt, has decided to jettison its clients and rebrand itself as a private investment partnership.

The 15-year-old hedge fund, which managed around $36 billion at its peak in 2012 but now manages $8 billion, said it has become increasingly difficulty to generate returns and that it will now manage the money of Platt, employees and partners. 

Several legendary hedge fund managers such as Stanley Druckenmiller and George Soros have closed their firms in recent years in order to manage their own wealth.

“We like this new structure for us a lot more than the one we are leaving behind,” Mr. Platt, who will turn 47 next week, said in an interview. “The investor base has become increasingly institutional and they want lower levels of risk and lower levels of fees.” 

BlueCrest said it planned the transition into a “private investment partnership” – rather than family office – to improve profitability. 

Louis Dreyfus family ask to be bought out

The founding family behind Louis Dreyfus Commodities have asked the Russian-born billionaire that controls the company to buy out their stake, according to the Financial Times.

Anonymous sources familiar with the matter say members of the founding family asked Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, who inherited control of the 164-year-old business when her husband Robert died in 2009, to buy their 16% stake. The family will retain a 4% stake in the company. 

The Louis-Dreyfus family have controlled the group since it was founded in 1851 by Leopold Louis-Dreyfus, who began the company by trading wheat from neighbouring farms. 

While the found family currently hold a 20% stake in the company, Russian born Louis-Dreyfus controls 80% of Louis Dreyfus through family trust Akira. 

The commodities business posted revenues of $64.7 billion in 2014.

Volkswagen sales drop 25% in US

Family-run carmaker Volkswagen has seen US sales fall by a quarter over the last month in the wake of the diesel emissions rigging scandal. 

According to a company statement, Volkswagen of America saw sales drop 24.7 percent in November compared to the same month in 2014, despite the industry being on track for record-breaking sales.

“The November sales results reflect the impact of the recent stop-sale for all 2.0L 4-cylinder TDI vehicles as well as for the 3.0L V6,” VW says, in reference to the diesel engines at the centre of the scandal.

VW sold half a million vehicles equipped with illegal software to mask emissions between 2008 and September 2015. The company has set aside some €6.5 billion (£4.9 billion) to cover the cost of the scandal.

The German carmaker posted revenues of €197 billion in 2013.

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