News round-up: Baxter, Aldi, Li Ka-Shing, Lotte, Cisneros, Turner


Soup tycoon dies

Ena Baxter, the 90-year-old matriarch of Scotland’s Baxters soup empire that she ran with her husband Gordon, died this week. The business started as a grocery store in 1868, and became famous for its jams and preserves. A factory was built in 1916, but when Ena joined the family in the 1950s her soup recipes, based on Scottish specialities like Cullen Skink and Cock-a-Leekie, turned it into a global business said to be worth over £120m.

Aldi fraud award

The heirs of Berthold Albrecht, the late German Aldi supermarket boss, have been awarded €19.4m in damages against a consultant who defrauded him while handling the purchase of art works and cars. Helge Achenbach was employed to keep Albrecht’s name secret, but he lied about the prices he had paid for items including paintings by Picasso and classic cars by almost €20m. The Albrecht family’s reputation for taking care with money helped convince the court he had been conned.

Li free in the UK?

Opponents of Hong Kong’s tycoons used to wonder if it was possible to live “Li-free”, ie, without buying any goods or services owned by Li Ka-Shing. With the purchase of two UK businesses this week – mobile phone operator O2 for £10bn, and train company Evershot for £1.1bn – Britons might be wondering the same. Li, patriarch of the Hutchison Whampoa investment company, already owns the UK arm of EDF Energy’s operations and several water companies.

Lotte trouble

Shin Dong-joo, the eldest son of the South Korean-Japanese Lotte Group, has been fired from all his positions, leading to speculation that his younger brother Dong-bin will take control of the conglomerate. Lotte’s 93-year-old founder Shin Kyuk-ho owns 28% of the group’s holding company, which began in 1948 in Japan but has become the fifth biggest company in South Korea.

TV tie-up

Family-owned Venezuelan media group Cisneros is to form a strategic alliance with American mogul Ted Turner’s Latin American operation. The aim is to leverage the success of the Cisneros’ Glitz, a paid-for channel famous for its telenovelas that currently broadcasts to 19m homes in Latin America The Cisneros family have been in the television business since the 1960s, while Turner took over a small family advertising company and turned it into a media empire.