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FB Roundup: Heineken, Lotte, and Berkshire Hathaway

By Michael Finnigan

Heineken set to announce $146m F1 sponsorship deal

Dutch family brewer Heineken, owned by the eponymous family, is rumoured to have agreed to a new $146 million sponsorship deal with Formula One following a sensational win by Dutch racer Max Verstappen last week.

At the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, 18-year-old Verstappen became the youngest winner in F1 history at the Spanish Grand Prix and has been tipped as a future world champion, sparking the interest of the Dutch brewer.

While there has been no official announcement, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf claimed last week that the sponsorship deal would be in place for next month's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

Heineken spokesman David Pugh said: "As a leading premium brand, we are constantly evaluating potential sponsorship and partnership opportunities. This includes F1 as well as many other sports properties.”

He continued: "We currently have an outstanding complementary global portfolio of sponsorships and partnerships including Uefa Champions League, Rugby World Cup, and the James Bond franchise.”

Fourth-generation Heineken owns more than 250 beverage brands including Fosters, Amstel, and Sol. It had revenues of $19.3 billion in 2015.

Lotte founder refuses mental competence evaluation

Nonagenarian Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho has checked himself out a hospital where he was set to receive a mental competence evaluation this week, according to a company statement.

The results of the check-up were to determine whether Shin needs a legal guardian. However, the results could weaken a claim by his oldest son Shin Dong-joo, the chairman of SDJ Corporation, that his father had chosen him to lead the second-generation South Korean business empire.

Korean news publication The Chosunilbo reported suspicions that the founder, or those around him, are trying to hold up proceedings so that no legal guardian can be appointed before a shareholders meeting of Japan Lotte Holdings in late June.

The founder's two sons, Dong-joo and Dong-bin, who own comparable stakes in the company, are vying for control of the 90 trillion won ($77 billion) business in a long-running succession battle.

Berkshire Hathaway buys stake in Apple

US holding company Berkshire Hathaway, headed by chairman Warren Buffett, disclosed in a regulatory filing that it had bought 9.8 million shares in Apple worth $1 billion, despite analyst predictions that the tech company is facing a low-growth future.

Buffett has traditionally avoided technology companies because he believes it is too hard to pick the businesses who will succeed long term. However, he did make an exception to that rule when he bought a major stake in IBM in 2011.

Berkshire's annual report showed the conglomerate lost $2.6 billion on the IBM investment at the end of last year.

Apple is the world's largest company by market capitalisation, while Buffett is the world's most prominent value investor ­– a practice that sees investors target company stock that they believe is undervalued.

Buffett's son, Howard, sits on the corporate boards of Berkshire Hathaway which last year had revenues of $210 billion.