News: MV Agusta sells 25% stake to Mercedes

The wheel deal

Giovanni Castiglioni, the man who runs venerable Italian racing bike brand MV Agusta, has sold 25% of the company to Mercedes. It’s been quite a ride for 34-year-old Castiglioni since he took over as CEO from his father Claudio, who died shortly after buying the business back from Harley Davidson in 2010. Amazingly, this is the third time that the Castiglionis have owned MV Agusta, having once sold it and then bought it back from a Malaysian company. Under its old-new ownership the brand has started racing again, with some success, and sales have increased 300%.

Military trumps family in Myanmar

Beer brands are owned by families in many parts of the world, but that won’t be the case in Myanmar. Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, a billionaire who owns Chang beer among other brands, and three of whose children are also in the family brewing business, has for 15 years run a joint venture with a military-backed company in Myanmar. This week a court demanded he hand over his 55% stake in Myanmar Brewery to his partner. Sirivadhanabhakdi will appeal.

Kochs get spoofed

Charles and David Koch, the brothers who run Koch industries, America’s second-biggest private company, are astute businessmen. But their political instincts might be a bit more suspect - or at least, those of the people who look after their image. The brothers are famous for supporting right-wing causes, but have been taking out adverts on Jon Stewart’s show, the most famous left-leaning satirical programme in the country, explaining how well they treat their staff. Sadly for the Kochs, this backfired, and Stewart last week mocked the ads. "We're Koch Industries, the next generation of robber barons, bending the democratic process to our will since 1980,” said the spoof ad. Not the desired effect.

Samsung unravels

Samsung is starting to untangle its complex mess of cross-held companies, and this week floated two of its businesses, IT services unit Samsung SDS and Chiel Holdings, which runs theme parks and is indirectly a large shareholder of Samsung Electrics. The two IPOs are expected to raise over $2bn. As well as simplifying its business, which consists of about 80 companies, the flotations will raise money for the expected $4bn inheritance tax bill the family will face when its ailing patriarch Lee Kun-hee dies.