Melinda French Gates cuts Canada Rail stake with $ 467 million sale
Melinda French Gates
Melinda French Gates sold $ 467 million in Canadian National Railways shares this month, reducing a stake she received during her divorce from Bill Gates and freeing up money she could potentially use for own investments and philanthropy.
She sold a total of 3.65 million shares of the Montreal-based company from Dec. 7 to 16, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Ms French Gates, who is worth $ 11.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, still owns nearly 20 million shares, but is now below the 5% stake that requires her to report trades.
In addition to the rail shares, Mr. Gates’ Cascade Investment also transferred stakes in Deere & Co and AutoNation to his former wife. Mr. Gates, who is worth $ 135.3 billion, owns 68.7 million shares of Canadian National.
Pivotal is Ms. French Gates’ philanthropic investment and incubation firm with a primary focus on gender equality. The billionaire founded it in 2015 “as a separate and independent organization” from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which she shares with her ex-husband.
French billionaire Vincent Bolloré received an offer of 5.7 billion euros ($ 6.4 billion) from Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) for its African logistics assets, a deal that would transform his family group just two months before its self-proclaimed retirement.
His company, the French conglomerate Bolloré, announced the offer.
The offer of the private company MSC, the second largest container shipping company in the world, follows the major acquisitions of its rivals CMA CGM and Maersk in port infrastructure and non-maritime logistics services.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused shortages of container ships and created congestion in ports at a time of very high consumer spending, which has pushed freight rates to record levels. This filled the coffers of the largest shipping companies and prompted them to seek further integration by appropriating land services.
In this context, the Bolloré group was unable to cope with the investments required by increased competition in Europe as well as the arrival of cash-rich newcomers from China and the Middle East, said a close source. folder.
Bolloré Africa Logistics’ turnover fell by 10% last year due to a decline in activity and the end of its concession in Douala in Cameroon.
The French government should scrutinize the operation because the infrastructures controlled by the Bolloré entity are considered strategic in West Africa.
“It’s on the right track,” the source said, adding that Bolloré warned the government before announcing the potential deal.
The sale of Bolloré’s African assets would deprive the listed family group, valued at € 12.9 billion on the market, of a large part of its historical activities and would make its stake in the Vivendi media group the center of gravity of the company. business.
The announcement comes just two months before Mr. Bolloré, 69, is about to hand over the reins of this group to his four children.
The businessman, who has spent most of his adult life developing this key business through acquisitions and personal relationships with West African statesmen, has repeatedly said that he would retire on February 17, 2022, which marks the 200th anniversary of the group, founded in Brittany. .
Bolloré Africa Logistics employs around 20,800 people and has 16 container terminal concessions, notably in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Gabon. It also operates three rail concessions in the region.
African Rainbow Minerals, backed by South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe, has agreed to buy the suspended Bokoni platinum mine from Anglo American Platinum for 3.5 billion rand ($ 221 million).
The deal comes after the world’s largest platinum miners declared record dividends this year as rebounding demand for their metals from automakers bolstered earnings.
African Rainbow, which owns investments ranging from manganese to gold, is looking to capitalize on an asset that was on hold before the platinum group metals surge in recent years.
“The acquisition and development of BPM will allow us to expand our portfolio of platinum group metals,” Motsepe said in a statement.
African Rainbow plans to spend around 5.3 billion rand over three years, with mining operations restarting in Bokoni in 2023. The project will create around 5,000 jobs, half of them permanent, the company said.
The Bokoni mine, jointly owned by Amplats and Atlatsa Resources, was placed on maintenance and upkeep in 2017 as Anglo American’s unit closed less profitable mines and shifted to mechanized operations.
Petr Kellner’s heirs have passed the final hurdle to merge their Czech bank with a larger local lender, making one of the billionaire’s coveted deals nine months after his death in a helicopter crash.
Shareholders of the Prague-listed Moneta Money Bank have approved a complex proposal to buy Air Bank Group from the Kellner family’s PPF group for 25.9 billion crowns ($ 1.2 billion). It was the investment firm’s third and final attempt to merge the two banks, after being forced to offer better terms following a failed approach in June.
PPF and Moneta management promoted the transaction as a way to create a larger and more profitable local bank that could better compete in a market dominated by the units of KBC Groep, Erste Group Bank and Societe Generale.
Subject to regulatory approvals, the deal will create the fifth largest bank in the Czech Republic with around SEK 510 billion in assets. The new entity would have nearly 2.5 million customers, the third largest customer base in the country with 10.7 million customers, and would become the largest provider of consumer loans in the country.
“I believe that in the medium term the results, the figures and the successes will prove that this was the right way to continue the development of Moneta”, said Tomas Spurny, managing director of the lender, after the conclusion of the shareholders’ meeting.
To increase the chances of sealing the deal, PPF acquired an almost 30% stake in Moneta earlier this year. The transaction will be primarily funded by the issuance of new Moneta shares and the outcome of the capital increase will determine whether PPF acquires control of the combined entity.
Unlike most PPF deals, this affair took place in public and included clashes with activist shareholder Petrus Advisers, who claims to own around 10 percent of Moneta. The London-based fund sharply criticized the plan, saying the conditions were unfair and the Czech bank would do better as a stand-alone company.
To allay the concerns of other shareholders, PPF agreed to let all owners buy the new shares next year, while keeping Air Bank’s previous price.
Some analysts expect PPF to eventually take control and make a takeover offer, although this will depend on the number of other shareholders participating in the capital increase and other factors.
Moneta shares have outperformed since the improved proposal as it sets a de facto floor of Kroner 90 per share for a possible mandatory takeover offer if PPF takes control. Still, the current market price of SEK 93 is below the 12-month average price target of SEK 102.55, for stand-alone Moneta, among analysts covering the stock.
Update: December 26, 2021, 4:00 a.m.