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FB Roundup: Reinold Geiger, Lee Jae-yong, Sebastián Piñera

FB Roundup: Reinold Geiger, Lee Jae-yong, Sebastián Piñera
In this week’s FB Roundup, L’Occitane’s owner Reinold Geiger aims to take the company private; Samsung CEO Lee Jae-yong is found not guilty after an inheritance lawsuit; and former Chilean president and billionaire mogul Sebastián Piñera dies aged 74.
By Glen Ferris
Reinold Geiger

L’Occitane’s owner Reinold Geiger aims to take the company private
Reinold Geiger, the Austrian billionaire and chairman / chief executive officer of French cosmetics retailer L’Occitane International is reportedly making a renewed push to take the global cosmetics firm private.

The controlling shareholder of the luxury retailer of body, face, hair, fragrances and home products saw his firm’s stock take a sharp rise following a Bloomberg News report about how private equity giant Blackstone Inc is considering teaming up on a buyout with L’Occitane’s 76-year-old majority owner.

“As our group grows, we need to evolve,” said Geiger. 

Geiger currently controls more than 70 per cent of the company, which is valued at $4.2 billion (according to filings) and has a portfolio of brands including L’Occitane en Provence, Melvita organic beauty products, Elemis collagen creams, the Grown Alchemist anti-ageing serums and Korean skincare brand Erborian.

L’Occitane, which is based in Luxembourg and Geneva and is listed in Hong Kong, and its backers raised $787 million in the company’s 2010 initial public offering, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The proposed buyout has reignited succession conversations as two of Geiger’s three sons are in senior management positions at the company. 38-year-old Adrien is a global brand director and Nicolas, 42, is an executive for the Americas. 

“They will become shareholders, but running the company is something different,” Geiger said in a 2012 interview with his business school alma mater. “I’m a very simple person. I don’t complicate things and may be not too intelligent. When you are too intelligent it’s difficult.”

L’Occitane was founded in 1976 by French businessman Olivier Baussan. Geiger became a minority shareholder in 1994, later expanding L’Occitane globally. 


Lee Jae-yong

Samsung CEO Lee Jae-yong found not guilty after inheritance lawsuit
Samsung heir and CEO Lee Jae-yong has been acquitted on all charges of accounting fraud and stock manipulation by a Seoul court.

The billionaire had previously been found guilty of bribery, embezzlement and concealment of criminal proceeds worth $7.8 million and served 18-months of a 30-month sentence for bribing Park Geun-hye, the jailed former president of South Korea. 

According to Forbes, “A judge at the Seoul Central District Court found Lee, 55, innocent of charges of stock price manipulation and accounting fraud related to the 2015 merger of two Samsung units, Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries.”

As reported by local media, Park Jung-je, the chief judge of the Seoul Central District Court, said, “There is no evidence of criminality in any of the charges in this case.” 

Lee, who had previously denied all accusations, has an estimated net worth of $10.8 billion and ranks second on Forbes’ latest list of South Korea’s 50 richest people.

Lee Jae-yong is the eldest child and only son of the late Lee Kun-hee, the second-generation chairman of Samsung Group. The younger Lee inherited the bulk of his father’s shares and control over the conglomerate. The third-generation principal promised last year to end the line of family succession at Samsung by not eventually transferring control to his own young adult son and daughter.

Sebastián Piñera

Former Chilean president and billionaire mogul Sebastián Piñera dies aged 74
Sebastián Piñera, a Chilean billionaire business mogul who twice served as president of his home country, has died at the age of 74 following a helicopter crash. 

Piñera’s death was announced by Chile’s interior minister, Carolina Tohá, who said three others aboard the helicopter survived the crash in Lake Ranco, about 550 miles south of the Chilean capital, Santiago. Piñera’s death was attributed to drowning, officials said.

In the days following his passing, Piñera, who ruled Chile from 2010 to 2014, and again between 2018 and 2022, was afforded a state funeral attended, according to Barron’s, “by former presidents and politicians from across the political spectrum.”

Piñera first rose to political power in the wake of the overthrowing of former dictator Augusto Pinochet. As reported by The Washington Post, “his first four-year term spanned a period of surging economic growth and falling inflation in Chile, making the country a symbol of success for advocates of free-market policies and austerity-style fiscal controls.

Referring to his personal wealth, The Post said: “he parlayed his standing as one of Chile’s richest men - with holdings including the country’s then-flagship airline, LAN, the soccer team Colo-Colo, and a television station - into a conservative political base that propelled him to victory in elections in 2009, taking office in 2010.”

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