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NewsBriefs: Family office buys private bank; Drahi pushes private markets

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Austrian family office buys Luxembourg-based private bank  

A family office backed by Austrian entrepreneur Alexander Schütz has bought Luxembourg based private bank Freie Internationale Sparkasse.

FIS was founded by German savings bank Sparkasse Bremen, but its Luxembourg branch has been operating independently since 2001. According to published statements from The Schütz Family Office, it will be used as a long-term strategic asset.

The Vienna-based family vehicle says it makes investments in fintech businesses and property development including financial services, internet and tech, e-commerce, aerospace, life sciences, property and natural resources. 

Alexander Schütz is the founder of Vienna-based C-Quadrat Investment Group, which is the biggest independent asset manager in Austria with AUMs exceeding €8 billion. Schütz also serves as a member of the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank.

Patrick Drahi likes private markets

French-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi has offered $3 billion to delist Altice Europe, the telecoms company he founded in 2001.

Drahi who still owns 77.6% of the group is now offering €4.11 per share to outstanding shareholders through his investment vehicle, Next Private. It is believed that he wants to buy back the company to re-focus its strategy away from the pressures of the stock market.

Drahi, who started his first telecoms company on a student loan, has faced opposition to his proposed deal with one analyst telling Bloomberg that his offer– which places the company at a €4.9 billion valuation – is undervalued and has advised shareholders not to accept.

Drahi’s desire to delist follows a trend across Europe where ultra-wealthy investors are taking advantage of share price slumps caused by regulations and Covid-19 to buy back the public telecoms companies they founded on the cheap. 

In 2019, another French investor, Xavier Niel, managed a €1.4 billion buyback of shares in Iliad, the Paris based telecoms company he co-founded in 1990, in order to re-exert majority control.

While Altice’s shares rose by 25% to €4.14 following Drahi’s offer last week, share prices remain a long way from what they were pre-coronavirus when they traded at over €6.50 in early 2020.

Altice’s US business, Altice USA is now a separate entity and will remain publicly listed.

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