Business

A retail billionaire family and their many investment offices become big players in venture/real estate

The US-based Pritzkers probably have more investment offices than any other family in the world, but a European retail dynasty is notching up many as well. They’re using them to invest in venture and real estate – substantially.

Philian Invest, a little-known investment office based in Stockholm, Sweden, has just invested in Electric Gamebox, a UK virtual gaming group that’s attracting a lot of interest in an era where virtual entertainment is huge, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

For Electric Gamebox, it helps to have a member of one of Europe’s wealthiest families and who know a lot about consumer markets.

Philian Invest is owned by billionaire Karl-Johan Persson, the chairman and a member of the family who owns the fashion retail group, Hennes & Mauritz, better known as H&M. Karl-Johan is a member of the third generation family who is behind H&M’s phenomenal success.  

Little known until the Electric Gamebox deal, Philian Invest is, in fact, connected to a much bigger Persson-owned investment group, Ramsbury Invest. Stockholm-based Ramsbury is the investment office of Karl’s father, Stefan – the patriarch of the Persson family and Sweden’s wealthiest individual with a fortune estimated by Forbes in 2021 of $22 billion. 

Philian owns a small stake in Ramsbury, so too do the investment offices of Stefan’s other two children, Charlotte Söderström (Tottsi) and Tom Persson (Colnvest STHLM). 

According to Swedish sources, the three siblings’ investment offices own slightly less than 30% of Ramsbury, which has vast real estate holdings in Sweden and the UK. In 2016, Ramsbury was reputed to have bought a big part of London’s Oxford Street for £400 million – small change for the world’s 17th wealthiest individual. 

Reflecting the mood of the times, recently, Rambury also backed Norrsken VC Fund, an impact investing fund.

Stefan’s only daughter, Charlotte Söderström, is married to Martin Söderström, who runs another private investment group: Djursholm Investment Group, or DIG Investment, which also managers the Persson fortune. 

Based in Stockholm, DIG has a sizable portfolio of venture-type investments, including last week when it increased its investment in Dirac, an audio platform. Other venture investments include the Indian ride-hailing unicorn, Ola, and various other Swedish startups. 

The Perssons also are linked to another Stockholm-based family office, HMP Family. Started by Martin Söderström as a single-family office in 2008, HMP Family has since become a very exclusive multi-family office – it works primarily with friends and family of the Perssons and doesn’t actively seek outside money.  

Another wing of the Persson family is Stefen Persson’s sister and multi-billionaire, Lotti Tham, who owns around 5% of H&M. Lotti’s two sons – Carl and Nils Tham – run private investment group, Tham Invest. Again, based in Stockholm, Tham Invest has various stakes in venture-type businesses, including Swedish smartphone platform, Parakey. 

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