Business

Family office quietly building up a huge portfolio of investments helped by the pandemic

Most billion-dollar-plus family offices have flourished during the pandemic as private and public asset prices have soared. But one, in particular, has benefited more than most and with its proceeds is quietly building a global portfolio like few others. 

Athos Services, set up in 2005, has been a big investor in biotech, but now is seriously diversifying into other sectors as well. Little wonder given the Munich-based family office owns nearly 50% of BioNTech, the inventor of one of the most used vaccines in the fight against Covid-19, the PfizerBioNTech vaccine. On the back of its success,  BioNTech’s share price has zoomed up nearly 300% so far this year, making Athos’s holding worth a massive $40 billion-plus. 

Owned by the already hugely wealthy pharmaceutical tycoons Thomas and Andreas Strüngmann, Athos has money to burn. Last week, Athos acquired a minority shareholding through a private placement in listed biotech group ​​AC Immune. 

The Swiss-based group is at the forefront of developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer – and sees vaccines as a big part of those efforts. Given their success with the BioNTech vaccine, no wonder the Strüngmanns have acquired a share in AC Immune.   

But Athos isn’t just investing more into biotech groups. Last month, the family office spent €75  million on a 15% stake in Blue Elephant Energy, a German operator of solar and wind power plants. As part of the deal, Athos has an option to increase its ownership of Blue Elephant, and as demand for alternative energy booms as countries move to meet their non-carbon commitments, Athos’s investment looks pretty smart. 

The Strüngmann brothers are also building a big real estate portfolio, as Family Capital reported on recently. They are behind property investment group AM Alpha, which is also linked to German real estate billionaire Wolfgang Egger. 

Egger’s family office 1st Capital Partner invested alongside Athos in the AC Immune deal. Clearly Egger and the Strüngmann brothers, who all live in and around Munich, like investing together. 

At the beginning of the year, Athos, which prefers private equity/growth capital investments to early-stage venture ones, bought a stake in Konux, a software railway switching platform based in Munich. Athos invested alongside Sanno Capital, an investment group owned by Florian Moerth, who made a fortune from an early investment in Alibaba, and veteran US venture investor Richard Kramlich.

 

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