The biggest family capital-linked deal of 2018 in terms of monetary value was Keurig Green Mountain’s acquisition of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group in January for $19 billion as well as equity considerations. Coffee specialist Keurig Green Mountain is owned by JAB Holdings, the private investment group of the Reimann family.
Another sizable deal in 2018 was Jacob Holding’s, the private investment group of the Klaus Jacob, acquisition of Cognita, a global schools group, for an unconfirmed $2.7 billion. Jacob bought the group from Bregal Investment, the London-based investment office of the Brenninkmeijer family, and private equity group KKR.
Susanne Klatten, Germany’s richest woman, and her investment office, SKion, also did one of the most interesting and sizable deals of 2018. SKion along with one of its portfolio companies, Altana, backed Landa Digital Printing, an Israel-based group set up by one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs, Benny Landa. Skion backed Landa Digital Printing with funding worth $300 million in June.
Family to family
Koch Equity Development’s move to buy a sizable minority stake in Getty Images showed all the hallmarks of a classic family capital investment deal, with two prominent families coming together to guarantee the long-term success of a family business. The investment group owned by Koch Industries is investing $500 million in Seattle-based Getty Images for a non-controlling investment in the company.
Interogo Holdings, an investment-led foundation structure and holding company linked to the Kamprad family who owns Ikea, bought in October a $190 million stake in H&M, the Swedish fashion retail group owned by the Persson family.
Zoma Capital, a private investment office founded by Lucy Ana and husband Ben Walton, a member of America’s wealthiest dynasty the Walton family who owns Walmart, made waves in the family investment world in 2018. In October, Zoma backed Canadian cleantech investment company Amp Solar Group with a sum of C$200 million. Two months earlier, Zoma teamed up with Vision Ridge Partners to buy a minority stake for $130 million in Colorado-based Guzman Energy, a wholesale power, energy trading and hedging service company. In December, Zoma also backed software group Techtonic and cloud platform Tendril. Expect to hear a lot more about Zoma in the future.
Kinnevik AB, the Swedish investment group owned by the Stenbeck, Klingspor and von Horn families, has been very active in 2018. Kinnevik led nine investments into venture/startups during the year worth more than $500 million.
The phoenix rises
Some wondered whether Alwaleed Bin Talal’s arrest and detention in Saudi Arabia in late 2017 would severely affect his investment group Kingdom Holding Company’s ability to function. But those fears were assuaged when Bin Talal was released in early 2018, and Kingdom Holdings began to invest again. Notable deals by Kingdom Holdings in 2018 included buying a minority stake in French-based music streaming group Deezer and paying $250 million for a 2.3% stake in Snapchat.
New investment opportunities
As cryptocurrencies tanked in 2018, some family offices looked for a new alternative investment sector that might be risky, but offer serious upside potential. They may have found it with cannabis. Well, that’s at least how William Wrigley and his family office, Wrigley Management, might have felt when they announced in August a $65 million investment in a Cannabis-based therapeutic company, Surterra Holdings.
Families are co-investing more than ever. They like it because it spreads the risk and some even make a fee on it from other family offices if they lead the investment round. Here are a couple of the more interesting ones that happened in 2018.
A group of prominent families and real estate investors came together to invest in a co-working and membership group based in New York City called NeueHouse. Ranger Global Advisors, which led the $30 million venture round and provided most of the funding, is the Beverly Hills-based family office of fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and husband, media mogul Barry Diller.
Also supporting the round were Gow Capital Partners, owned by billionaire property developers and investors Goodwin and Kenneth Gow, and Revolt Ventures, a London-based venture group linked to Meyer Bergman, a private real-estate investment group owned by Dutch property entrepreneur Marcus Meyer. Here’s what one family investor told Family Capital about the deal: “It’s a huge opportunity for global families.”
Also this year, a group of Norwegian family offices and investors co-invested in an artificial intelligence startup called Exabel. The family offices backing startup Exabel are Andenaes Group, the investment group of the Andenaes family, Holta Invest, the investment group of the Holta family, and Vatne Capital, the family office of Runar Vatne.
The growing rise of sustainable and impact investment efforts came to the fore in 2018 as more families, and family foundations came together to invest. Here are some of the highlights of these types of co-investments in 2018.
Bill Gates and Estée Lauder’s chairman emeritus Leonard Lauder teamed up with the Dolby family and the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation to fund a big initiative in the diagnostics of Alzheimer’s disease. The $30 million investment will fund efforts for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The investment will be part of a new venture initiative called Diagnostic Accelerator.
EQT Ventures, a Stockholm-based venture group with close links to the Wallenberg family; Omidyar Network, the impact-led investment group of Pierre Omidyar; and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, came together with six institutional investors to back a social enterprise called Handshake. The San Francisco startup helps students find a meaningful career, no matter what school they attend, according to its website. The nine backers committed $40 million in a Series C funding round for the group.
AHL Venture Partners, a venture/impact investing group linked to the fortune made by the Swedish oil and mining entrepreneur Adolf H. Lundin, invested in online supermarket group Twiga Foods, which is based in Kenya. AHL was one of six investors participating in a Series B funding round worth $10 million. Other backers of Twiga Foods in the past have included family office impact investors, Omidyar Network and Blue Haven Initiative.