Fiat heir shows his grandfather's dealmaking flair
MILANO (Bloomberg) -- John Elkann hasn't shown the swashbuckling fashion that his grandpa, Gianni Agnelli, did as he assembled Italy's largest industrial combine. But Elkann gets the exact same ability for dealmaking.
That came to the fore again on Wednesday when the Agnelli family investment business he prospects, Exor SpA, became the biggest investor in The Economist magazine. Just days before, Exor had won a takeover battle to get reinsurer PartnerRe for about $6.9 billion.
"These offers demonstrate how John Elkann h-AS grown, making him among the best dealmakers approximately," mentioned Enrico Valdani, a professor of economics and company direction at Milan's Bocconi University.
The moves also represent 39-year old Elkann's decision to streamline the household's properties. In May, Exor offered real estate business Cushman & Wakefield for about $2 billion. And last yr Elkann joined with Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne to listing the combined automakers in The Big Apple.
Purpose is always to simplify
"We've labored really hard in the previous couple of years to simplify what Exor is," Elkann stated in-May. His aim would be to possess "fewer firms but of larger size."
Exor's present business interests vary from Fiat Chrysler to Italian soccer team Juventus. It provides media like Turin daily newspaper La Stampa and a big position in the organization that prints Italy's largest paper, Corriere della Sera, equally held although Fiat.
Gianni Agnelli, who died in 2003, took over Fiat from his grandpa, Giovanni Agnelli.
After the Second World War. Gianni assisted re-build Italy's biggest manufacturing company, over the years including generation of railroad cars, plane parts, tractors and trucks. During A - 30-year stint as Fiat chairman, which started in 1966, he additionally bought vehicle competitions like Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo. Now, nearly 80% of Exor's gross income and 50 per cent of its own earnings come from car manufacturing.
John Elkann, who's Agnelli's oldest grandchild, was created in Ny, son of Margherita Agnelli as well as a French-Italian author, Alain Elkann. John is an enthusiastic sailor and soccer player, he's tall and gangly with tousled dark hair as well as a boyish grin. In in public places he seems self-conscious, his shipping slow and purposeful.
He's handled the family bundle since 2004, when Agnelli's brother, Umberto, expired. Exor was formed last year from the amalgamation of two holding businesses and its own shares have increased more than seven-fold since. The household's 51% stake in Exor is valued at 5.6 billion euros ($6.2 billion).
Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann along with CEO Sergio Marchionne discuss to traders in April at the mixed firm's first annual stockholders meeting.
Commitment to Italy
Despite Elkann's stewardship, union leaders as well as some corporate executives have criticized him for left the state where the family made its fortune.
"The Agnellis are leaving Italy," Diego Della Valle, the creator of leather-goods manufacturer Tod's SpA, mentioned on Italian tv after Fiat bought Chrysler. "And what's left of the household posseses an approach I do not enjoy."
But Elkann insists that Fiat does not have any need to stop Italy and that international growth has generated a large number of new careers there.
As Elkann operates on Exor offers, he is also supporting Marchionne's effort to combine Fiat Chrysler -- that he's chairperson -- with another car-maker to invent a new No. 1 in the automotive industry. Though their overtures are rejected by their favorite partner, Gm, the attempt is emblematic of a new, more comprehensive vision for Agnelli's inheritors, said Giuseppe Berta, the previous head of Fiat's archives.
"Gianni's major aim was to maintain the household's industrial heritage as an Italian manufacturing company," Berta stated. With his world-wide dealmaking drive, "Elkann needs to get his tradition grow."
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