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FB Roundup: Jim Davis and Steve Bisciotti, Salvador de Mello, Naguib Sawiris

FB Roundup: Jim Davis and Steve Bisciotti, Salvador de Mello, Naguib Sawiris
In this week’s FB Roundup, cousins Jim Davis and Steve Bisciotti buy Newly Weds Foods: the José de Mello Group establishes a new investment vehicle; and Naguib Sawiris eyes up investment in a $7 billion copper-gold project.
By Glen Ferris
Steve Bisciotti
Steve Bisciotti

Cousins Jim Davis and Steve Bisciotti to buy Newly Weds Foods
Jim Davis and Steve Bisciotti, the billionaire cousins who co-founded Allegis Group (the United States’ largest recruitment firm), have agreed to buy food ingredient company Newly Weds Foods for around $4 billion through their family office.

Having set up Redwood Holdings (through which the cousins have diversified their investments to include a beer supply company, retirement communities, propane distribution and several apparel, footwear and accessories brands) following Allegis’ growth across four continents and annual revenues of more than $15 billion, the Newly Weds Foods deal is believed to be one of the biggest to be carried out by a family office. 

Newly Weds Foods, which is currently owned by the Angell family, was put on the market after Charles Angell died last year. Charles’ father Paul Angell founded the Chicago-based company in 1932 after developing “a technology that allowed sheet cake to be rolled without cracking and combined with ice cream”. Under Charles Angell’s leadership, the firm grew to 29 production plants in the US.

According to Reuters, once the sale has gone through, Newly Weds Foods CEO Brian Johnson will continue to lead the company. 

As reported by Forbes, Davis and Bisciotti (who is also the majority owner of American football team the Baltimore Ravens) have a net worth of $4.2 billion and $7.1 billion, respectively. 

Salvador de Mello
Salvador de Mello

José de Mello Group establish new investment vehicle
The family-controlled Portuguese shareholder company José de Mello Group, has purchased a host of domestic wineries to further grow its hold over the grape business. 

Having become one of Portugal’s largest corporations after being founded in 1898 by Alfredo da Silva and growing to prominence through its flagship Ravasqueira brand, the group bought “the Quinta do Retiro Novo wine estate and agreed to rent the Quinta do Cotto and Paco de Teixeiro wineries in northern Portugal”, reports Bloomberg.

“Our goal is to become one of Portugal’s top three wine producers over the next seven years,” said Salvador de Mello, CEO of the Jose de Mello Group. “The wine sector in Portugal is very fragmented and we want to take part in the consolidation.”

Additionally, the group has also taken control of the wine brands Quinta do Retiro Novo, Krohn, Quinta do Côtto and Paço de Teixeiró, as well as the Krohn port wine brand, through their new investment vehicle WineStone.

“Our main objective is to develop a growth strategy with ambition, consistency and sustainability, from a long-term perspective, to be able to produce and sell quality wines in all the regions in which we are present, with brands admired by consumers from different segments, in the national market and with an impact on international markets,” said WineStone’s new president Pedro Pereira Gonçalves.

“The creation of the new WineStone business platform represents another step in achieving our growth ambition and also constitutes a challenge for us to take on – like the other business areas in which we are present – a leading position in the wine sector,” said Salvador de Mello citing the “accelerated growth” Ravasqueira has seen in recent years as a driver for the group’s growth.

In addition to its wine interests, according to Bloomberg, the Jose de Mello Group also owns Portugal’s biggest chemical company Bondalti SA, a network of hospitals and assisted-living homes and also has a 16.7% stake in toll-road operator Brisa-Auto Estradas de Portugal.

Naguib Sawiris
Naguib Sawiris

Naguib Sawiris eyeing up investment in $7 billion copper-gold project
Egyptian communications and gold billionaire Naguib Sawiris is reportedly considering an investment in the $7 billion Reko Diq copper-gold project on the border of Afghanistan and Iran.

The son of Orascom Group founder Onsi Sawiris is believed to have expressed an interest in the development which is jointly owned by Barrick and the country of Pakistan. The Reko Diq copper-gold project is “one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits, capable of producing 200,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold a year for more than half a century,” according to The National.

“I have an advantage compared to other investors. I know the country, I have friends here,” said Sawiris in an interview. “We want to be on the Pakistani side, because I have been here for 25 years.”

The eldest of three brothers (his younger siblings Nassef and Samih are also billionaire businessmen), Naguib Sawiris is not the only investor to have expressed interest in Reko Diq with Barrick chief executive Mark Bristow revealing that multinational mining companies, including firms in Saudi Arabia, were also looking into “potential engagement”.

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