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Family business roundup: Inditex, Van Tuyl Group, and Reliance Communications

By Michael Finnigan

Inditex joins forces with Alibaba to boost Chinese sales; Berkshire Hathaway buys Van Tuyl car dealership; and Reliance Communications aims to reduce debt with 4G.

Inditex joins forces with Alibaba to boost Chinese sales

Family-controlled clothing empire Inditex has announced plans to join forces with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings in order to gain a stronger foothold in the country.

The deal sees Inditex, founded by Spanish billionaire Amancio Ortega, launch a new online store for its flagship brand Zara on Tmall, the seventh most popular website in the country, in exchange for a share in profits.

Zara is one of the strongest Western retailers in China and prior to the deal sales were expected to grow by 20%.

Amancio Ortega is the fourth richest man in the world, according to Forbes magazine, while Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, can now boast a $14 billion fortune after floating his business on the stock market this week.

Berkshire Hathaway buys Van Tuyl car dealership

US holding company Berkshire Hathaway, headed by Warren Buffett, has agreed to buy the auto dealership business of family-owned Van Tuyl Group for an undisclosed sum.

Van Tuyl Group is the fifth largest auto dealer in the country and has been a under the control of the eponymous family for 62 years. The group, based in Arizona, generates more than $8 billion in sales each year.

Berkshire Hathaway said that its acquisition would allow the holding company to expand its operations in the automotive industry. The new business will be called Berkshire Hathaway Automotive and will be based in Texas.

Bloomberg reported the pricetag was likely to be between $1.8 billion and $3.7 billion. The deal will be completed in the first quarter of 2015.

Reliance Communications aims to reduce debt with 4G

Indian telecom provider Reliance Communications, owned by second-gen Amil Ambani, has announced plans to launch a 4G mobile service in order to reduce the conglomerate's €4.5 billion debt.

The deal puts Ambani in direct competition with his older brother Mukesh, who also plans launch a superfast mobile service through his conglomerate Reliance Industries in 2015.

The duo previously signed a non-compete deal in 2010 after the brothers split their late father's family business Reliance Industries. 

Dhirubhai Ambani founded Reliance Industries in 1966. He failed to leave a succession plan leading to one of India's most significant family feuds.

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