Investment

The biggest family/principal office deals of 2020

Family Capital looks at the big deals done by family/principal investment offices in 2020. 

Private Equity 

Back in February, Morningside, the family office of the Hong Kong-based Chan family, who own the property empire Hang Lung Group, committed $75 million to Canadian AgTech data analytics platform Semios. 

In April, Bregal Sagemount, a New York City-based investment group owned by the Brenninkmeijer family, invested in Accellion, a software company. Bregal committed $120 million to the Californian-based group. 

In September, a group of investment offices joined some heavyweight institutional investors to back Northvolt, which is developing lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. The investment was worth $600 million. It was backed by PCS Holding, the investment office of the Swiss billionaire Peter Spuhler, Swedish investor Cristina Stenbeck, a foundation owned by the Kamprad family, who own IKEA, Baron Capital, an investment fund owned by New York financier Ron Baron, and Jersey-based investment office Bridford Investments (ownership isn’t known), and the co-founder of Spotify, Daniel Ek. These private investors joined the likes of Goldman Sachs, Baillie Gifford, and the Volkswagen group in the deal.  

In October, Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment bought a minority stake in StorageMart, which claims to be the biggest privately owned self-storage company in the world in terms of revenues. Cascade along with the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC bought an undisclosed equity stake for an unspecified amount in the Columbia, Missouri-based family business. But given the size of StorageMart, the deal would have been worth well over $100 million. 

In November, Australian family office Tattarang, owned by mining billionaire Andrew Forrest and his wife, Nicola, bought R.M. Williams, the Australian footwear and clothing maker. Tattarang bought the iconic brand from the Arnault family-backed private equity group L Catterton. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, although speculation in the Australian media suggest Tattarang paid around A$190 million ($135 million) for the famous riding boots maker. 

Also in November, Hands Family Office, the Guernsey-based investment office of UK financier Guy Hands, bought Consolidated Pastoral Company (CPC), a huge Australian agricultural business. CPC is the largest private cattle company in Australia, with 3.2 million hectares of land, holding around 300,000 head of cattle. According to local media reports, the family office paid around $500 million to $600 million for CPC. 

Unspecified Rounds

One of the biggest single venture investments happened in early 2020 when WILD Family Office/HP Wild Holdings invested in Tokamak Energy, a UK company developing fusion energy. WILD invested £67 million ($90 million) in Tokamak, which says it’s at the cusp of commercializing fusion power. WILD manages the investments of Hans-Peter Wild, a Swiss-based billionaire. 

Seed

One of the biggest single startup fundings from a family/principal investment group came from Station 13, a sister entity to JDS Sports, an investment group owned by US investor Joseph Samberg. Station 13  backed Framework, a hybrid fund-operating company that invests in promising protocols and builds products to make those protocols succeed. Station 13 seeded the US-based business in August with $8 million. 

Series A 

Perhaps the biggest single investment coming from a family investment group at this level was Horizons Ventures, Li Ka-shing’s venture group, investing in Kneron, which is developing AI software for application-specific integrated circuits. Horizons committed $40 million to the Californian group at the beginning of 2020. 

In September, Wu Capital, a Beijing-based family office owned by Yajan Wu, a prominent China-based real estate developer, invested in Korro Bio, a biotech group. Wu led the $91.8 million investment in the Boston-based group; seven other investors participated. 

Series B

David Rubenstein’s recently created family office Declaration Capital led a round worth $150 million with three other investors into Concerto HealthAI, a biotech group. Declaration invested in the Boston-based biotech group at the beginning of the year. 

In May, a group of ten investors committed $185 million to New York City-based AI group ASAPP. Backers included hedge fund billionaire Jim Simons’ family office Euclidean Capital, John Chambers, the former CEO of Cisco, JC2 Ventures, and John Doerr, the chairman of Kleiner Perkins, most likely funnelled through his family office, Radical Investments. HOF Capital, a New York City-based venture group, set up by a scion of the Egyptian billionaire Sawiris family, also backed the round. So did Dave Strohm, a partner at Greylock Partners, and Joe Tucci, chairman of Bridge Growth Partners. 

In May, Horizons Ventures, owned by Asian billionaire Li Ka-shing, together with Sofina, an investment group owned by the Belgian-based Boël family, and Verlinvest, the family investment group for the Spoelberch and de Mévius families, who are linked to the world’s biggest brewery group, InBev, invested in Kopi Kenangan, an Indonesian coffee chain. They were part of a consortium of eight investors who committed $209 million to the group.  

In August, Vulcan Capital, the Seattle-based investment group owned by Jody Allen, led a $120 million investment into Wildlife Studios, a gaming company. One other investor participated in the round for the Brazilian-based group.  

Growth Capital

In February, PremjiInvest, the family investment group, led a $126 million investment round in a Boston-based healthcare group, Iora Health. Billionaire Azim Premji’s family office co-invested with a number of other family-backed investment groups as well as institutional money in the Series F round for Iora Health, based in Boston.  

Also in February, Koch Disruptive Technologies, the venture group owned by Chase Koch, the son of multi-billionaire Charles Koch, invested in InSightec. Koch invested $150 million in a Series F round for the Israel-based healthcare group which makes magnetic-resonance-guided ultrasound technology devices for image-guided acoustic surgery. InSightec has developed transformative technology, which makes it possible to perform completely non-invasive surgery on the brain and other parts of the body. 

A big co-investment deal among family/principal investment offices took place in March when Exor, the listed investment holding group owned by the Italian Agnelli family, together with Planven Investments, the Swiss-based family office of Carlo De Benedetti, and Ervington Investments, an investment group owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovitch, committed $200 million to Via, a New York City-based on-demand public mobility platform. It was at Series E level. 

In July, HP Wild Holdings/WILD Family Office, the investment and holdings group owned by Swiss billionaire Hans-Peter Wild, together with Ziff Capital Partners, an investment group owned by the New York City-based Ziff family, and TLP Investment Partners, which is owned by David Bunning, invested in Imvax, a biotech group focused on the development of vaccines and immunotherapy strategies for cancer. HP Wild Holdings led the $112 million round for the Philadelphia-based group. 

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