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Family Business Roundup: Bollore, Marriott International, and Sika

Bollore Group raided over west Africa port concessions; Marriott and Starwood join hands in blockbuster hotel deal; and Sika board limits Burkard family vote

Bollore Group raided over west Africa port concessions

French authorities have searched the headquarters of Bollore Group in Paris as part of an investigation into alleged port concessions it received in West Africa.

The investigation is looking into a possible relationship between Bollore Group, headed by seventh-gen Vincent Bollore, and Francis Perez, the president of casino and hotel group Pefaco.

Based in Barcelona, Pefaco has been under investigation for four years. Prosecutors are trying to work out whether Perez helped Bollore Group receive port concessions in Guinea and Togo.

Bolloré Group said in a statement, after the searches were reported by France’s Le Monde newspaper, that Pefaco and its leaders were “completely unknown” to the company.

Groupe Bolloré posted annual revenues of €10.6 billion ($15 billion) in the year to 31 December 2014.

Marriott and Starwood join hands in blockbuster hotel deal

Shareholders from Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide have approved Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood for $12.2 billion.

The acquisition will make Marriott International the largest hotel chain in the world, with access to more than a million rooms.

It will also bring together 30 brands, including Starwood’s higher-end W Hotels and Marriott’s Courtyard.

“This transaction puts our company on the best path forward,” said Thomas Mangas, Starwood’s CEO.

The second-generation family business will reportedly add three Starwood members to its board. The hotel chain posted revenues of $13.7 billion in 2014.

Sika board limits Burkard family vote

The board of Swiss industrial giant Sika has moved to limit the voting rights of the controlling Burkard family in order to prevent a takeover attempt by French competitor Saint-Gobain.

According to the Financial Times, Sika's board decided to limit the Burkard family's rights to 5%. The controlling family own 16.1% of Sika’s share capital, but 52.4% of its voting rights.

Saint-Gobain has already struck the deal to buy the family stake for CHF2.8 billion ($2.9 billion), but management and minority shareholders oppose the deal. 

Saint-Gobain, who are currently accelerating expansion plans in emerging markets and the US, said the deal will boost the firm’s growth potential and access to other markets. 

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