Swiss billionaire acquires S+B founder families’ shares

Following the capital increase to rescue the Schmolz+Bickenbach (S+B) group, Swiss billionaire Martin Haefner has taken over the stake of the company’s founder families through his BigPoint Holding AG. The stake, bundled in holding Schmolz+Bickenbach Beteiligungs GmbH, was 10.09% before and 4.7% after the capital increase, the S+B group tells Kallanish.

The move is a surprise because the owner families filed an appeal to the Swiss Federal Administrative Court in December against the granting of an exemption in favour of BigPoint. Although Haefner along with the capital increase would lift his stake to above one third in S+B, he was exempt from being obliged to making an offer for all outstanding shares.

Haefner is paying CHF 0.45 ($0.46) per share to the owner families, which is approximately double the current stock market value of S+B. For the owner families, this means a profitable but “… ugly exit”, as Swiss daily NZZ puts it, while the smaller shareholders are not considered in the deal.

Haefner will now own 49.6% of S+B, with another 25% held by Liwet Holding, which is controlled by Russian Oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. According to NZZ, the upcoming restructuring measures will mainly affect the group’s operations in Germany, France and the US.