N&Q: Family office buys fashion business; US gets tough with family firms…


Family office buys German upmarket fashion house

An Amsterdam-based family investment group called Maeg Holding has bought the German fashion house Strenesse for an undisclosed sum. Maeg Holding is believed to be owned by a Polish family called Kucharczyk, according to the German press, which says the family is involved in the energy sector and has holdings in a number of DAX-listed businesses. The reports added that Maeg wants to create a fashion holding company with various premium brands – so further acquisitions are likely. Strenesse was founded by the Strehle family as an upmarket fashion group in 1949. But in recent years it’s struggled and entered insolvency proceedings in 2014.


Proposed US tax changes tough for family businesses

The US treasury department has proposed curbing valuation discounts for operating businesses and family limited partnerships holding securities. If the proposal goes through it will mean higher taxes on the death of owners of family businesses, say reports. Analysts suggest this could mean the liquidation of businesses or the sale of big chunks to outsiders. US lawyers are advising clients to take advantage of the current valuation discounts before any change. Here’s a more in-depth story on the proposed changes from Forbes.


Saudi family-controlled construction business faces big difficulties

Saudi Oger, a Riyadh-based construction company, is close to filing for bankruptcy, according to reports in the local media. Reports suggest the family business, which is owned by a prominent Lebanese family called Hariri, has been unable to pay the wages of its employees for months. Founded in 1978 by Rafic Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon, Saudi Oger is now run by his two sons – Saad Hariri and Ayman Hariri. Reports say the conglomerate, which is also involved in telecommunications, has been hit by the sharp slowdown in construction in Saudi Arabia, which in turn has been hit by lower oil prices.