News: Rockefeller, Gutsche, Lee, Walton, Slim


The Rockefellers have left the building

The Rockefellers are to leave the iconic 30 Rockefeller Plaza skyscraper, where they have had an office since it opened in 1933. The family office once occupied three floors of the building, although this reduced to one floor in 2000. The family, which now numbers 300, will move to an office nearby with lower rent. And worse views.

Family’s JV with Coke

South Africa’s Gutsche family is to create a joint venture with Coca-Cola and SABMiller to bottle soft drinks to 12 countries in southern Africa. Gutsche Family Investments is currently a major shareholder in Coke’s African operations and will own over 30% of the new company. Phil Gutsche, GIF’s chairman, will run it. The family has been involved with Coca-Cola since 1957 when Philip Gutsche, the family patriarch, started out as a salesman for the brand.

Samsung’s restructuring accelerates

Samsung’s presumed next head Lee Jae-yong continues to restructure and focus the company, which this week sold off large chunks of several chemicals and defence-related businesses. Flagship business Samsung Electronics also announced a $2bn share buyback, which should quieten grumbles about low dividends, and also make the company (marginally) more family-owned.

Wal-Mart braces for protests

Some staff who work at Wal-Mart, the family-owned company which is America’s biggest employer, are to protest about their low wages today – so-called Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. They say that the business, which made $16bn in profit last year, pays some staff too little to even shop where they work. The company says that 6,000 of its 1.4 million staff are on the minimum wage.

Slim buys from Koplowitz

Hedge fund manager George Soros’ attempt to buy a stake in FCC, the Spanish construction giant owned by the Koplowitz family, has fallen through and Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecoms billionaire, will instead buy the 25.6% of the company earmarked for sale. Bill Gates and Soros both invested in the troubled firm last year, and Soros initially wanted to expand his stake. Esther Koplowitz, whose father founded the firm, will see her stake reduced from over half to 23%.