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FB Roundup: Renata Kellnerova, Chirathivat family, Desmarais family

FB Roundup: Renata Kellnerova, Chirathivat family, Desmarais family
In this week’s FB Roundup, Renata Kellnerova and family consolidate their $12 billion fortune into a new holding company; the Chirathivat family take full ownership of Selfridges department store; and the Desmarais family sell a minority stake in Sagard.
By Glen Ferris
Renata Kellnerova

Renata Kellnerova and family consolidate $12 billion fortune into new holding company
The family of late Czech billionaire Petr Kellner are reportedly consolidating all their assets, including investment fund PPF under one new holding company, AMALAR.

Kellner’s widow, Renata Kellnerova, the richest woman in Eastern Europe following her husband’s passing in 2021, and three daughters - Anna, Lara and Marie – will merge their $12 billion fortune (according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index) as they shift their investment focus back to western markets following years of expansion in Asia.

“The aim of creating this super-holding is to simplify the ownership structure, which will be fully controlled by the Kellner family,” said AMALAR spokesman Tomas Perman in a statement.

The move comes after Kellnerova and her family recently acquired full ownership of PPF, the richest family office in the European Union’s eastern wing after buying out two minority owners.

According to Bloomberg, “PPF’s key assets are businesses in telecommunications, media, financial services and e-commerce, although the group’s portfolio also includes real estate, engineering and biotechnology.

“Since Kellnerova took the helm of the company, she has overseen several large deals, including the €2.15 billion sale of a controlling stake in telecommunication operations in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia to Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Telecommunications Group Co.”

Petr Kellner died in an accident involving an Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter crash, which took place while the group were heliskiing in Alaska's backcountry near the Knik Glacier in 2021.

Tos Chirathivat

The Chirathivat family takes full ownership of Selfridges department stor
Central Group, the retail firm owned by Thailand’s billionaire Chirathivat family, has announced it has taken control of the company that runs London’s famed Selfridges department store.

The group, which is led by Tos Chirathivat [pictured above], the grandson of the group’s founder, have revealed in a statement that they have converted a loan into equity and will gain a majority stake in the operating company they shared in a joint venture with Austrian partner Signa. 

According to Bloomberg, “the transaction also gives Central Group control over other department stores in the Selfridges group, including Brown Thomas & Arnotts in Ireland and De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands.”

Central Group, which is Thailand’s biggest mall developer, bought Selfridges with Signa (which is owned by Austrian real estate tycoon Rene Benko) for about $5 billion in 2021, in what was one of the biggest UK retail deals in recent memory. 

However, Signa’s recent financing difficulties has brought about the Chirathivat buyout, which is believed to be “based on a six-month loan of about $391 million Central Group provided in August. That loan replaced a £300 million multi-currency loan facility by Julius Baer Group Ltd. used for the initial purchase of the department store, corporate filings show.”

The deal represents part of Central Group’s five-year plan to invest $6.6 billion through its listed retail and the property businesses.

Paul Desmarais III

The Desmarais family sell minority stake in Sagard
Power Corporation of Canada, the management and holding company of the billionaire Desmarais family, has, according to Bloomberg, “reportedly increased the estimated value of its Sagard Holdings alternative investments unit after closing a deal to sell a minority stake in it.”

The Desmarais family have made the sale to the Bank of Montreal and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, ADQ, and have subsequently raised their Sagard stake to $1.24 billion, according to the company’s third-quarter financial statements – marking a rise of 28 per cent since the firm’s second-quarter statement. 

As reported by Bloomberg, “The deal, announced in July, diluted Power’s direct ownership of Sagard to 54.5 per cent. Bank of Montreal, ADQ and Great-West Lifeco Inc. collectively own 29 per cent, and the remaining economic interest is owned by management.”

Sagard is led by Paul Desmarais III [pictured above] and focusses on a variety of investments in the fields of venture capital, private equity and private credit. 

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