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FB Roundup: Sackler, Kristiansen, and Kadoorie

By Susan Lingeswaran

Sackler family offers up to $12 billion to settle opioid lawsuits

Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, the prescription painkiller at the heart of the US’ opioid crisis, have offered between $10 billion and $12 billion to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits from US states and cities.

The company, owned by the billionaire Sackler family, has been blamed for fuelling the US’ opioids crisis by aggressively and deceptively marketing its painkillers to doctors and downplaying the risks of addiction.

According to NBC News the potential deal was discussed by Purdue’s lawyers at a meeting in Cleveland last week with 10 state attorneys generals and attorneys representing plaintiffs suing the company.

The New York Times said as part of the deal the Sackler family would be required to give up ownership of Purdue Pharma, pay $3 billion of their own money towards the settlement and sell Mundipharma, another drug company they own.

Responding to the reports, Purdue Pharma said it was actively working with state attorneys general and other plaintiffs to achieve a “constructive global resolution”.

“While Purdue Pharma is prepared to defend itself vigorously in the opioid litigation, the company has made clear that it sees little good coming from years of wasteful litigation and appeals,” it said.

The news comes a day after family-owned drug maker Johnson and Johnson was ordered by a US judge to pay $572 million for its part in fuelling Oklahoma’s opioid addiction crisis.

The transatlantic Sackler family are descendants of three Sackler brothers—Raymond, Arthur and Mortimer—who turned their small pharmaceutical firm into the $3 billion revenue-making Purdue Pharma. Forbes lists the Sackler family as the 20th wealthiest family in the US, with a net worth of $11.2 billion, which is shared among some 20 family members.

Lego family fund poaches Google director to join board

Lego’s parent company, which manages the wealth of the Kirk Kristiansen family, has hired Malou Aamund, a director at Google in Denmark, to join its board.

Kirkbi, which is controlled by the third-generation of the Kirk Kristiansen family said Aamund (pictured), 50, would be the first woman on the board of Kirkbi, which is chaired by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, grandson of Lego founder Ole Kirk Kristiensen.

In a statement, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen said the appointment would help “ensure we have the right set of competencies to support the company and our family in the continued family ownership of the activities in the Kirkbi Group”.

Aamund has served as Google Denmark’s country director since 2016 and held executive positions at Microsoft and IBM in Denmark.

Denmark-based Kirkbi has about $16 billion in assets and its board consists of two members of the Lego family—chairman Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen and his son, Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, as well as three external members.

Kirkbi’s major asset is 75% of the ownership of Lego. In addition, the holding company owns 29.6% of Merlin Entertainment, which owns and operates eight Legoland parks worldwide. In April, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, stepped down from the board of Lego to make way for the next generation, leaving his son, fourth-generation Thomas, as deputy chairman. Earlier this year, Lego Group reported a 4% growth in revenue to $5.5 billion for 2018.

Asia’s richest families join the call to end Hong Kong unrest

Michael Kadoorie, the chairman of Hong Kong’s biggest electricity provider, has joined other local and overseas tycoons with interests in China and called for an end to anti-government demonstrations.

Kadoorie, who chairs his family’s CLP Holdings, the publicly-traded power company which serves 80% of Hong Kong’s population with electricity, took out full-page adverts in the South China Morning Post and Hong Kong Economic Times newspapers urging an end to violence, a commitment to the rule of law and to unite to relieve the “desperation” and “despair” of the city’s youth.

Meanwhile, Thai billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont, senior chairman of Charoen Pokphand Group, a conglomerate which controls the world’s biggest producer of animal feed, also took out adverts this week in Ming Pao, Sing Tao and Oriental Daily urging the return of order and mutual prosperity.

The protests have disrupted life in Hong Kong, closing streets, disrupting flights and causing volatility in the stock market. According to the Financial Times, the market rout has cost Hong Kong’s 10 wealthiest citizens more than $15 billion collectively.

Cheravanont’s biggest holding is a stake in Ping An Insurance, one of China’s top insurers. The Chearavanont family’s CP Pokphand, whose animal feeds businesses are based in China and Vietnam, has been listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since 1988.

These latest appeals follow Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest man, and billionaire real-estate developer Peter Woo, who both used newspaper ads to appeal for an end to the violence earlier this month. Li has lost an estimated $3 billion since July while Woo has lost $1 billion, according to the Financial Times.

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