Agnelli Holding Exor joins Philips

Agnelli Holding Exor joins Philips

The Dutch Philips Group has secured the entry of a new major investor. Through their investment company Exor, the Fiat founding family Agnelli takes over a 15 percent stake in the long-established company. As both sides announced today, the deal is worth around 2.6 billion euros.

Nine percent increase in group sales

“Exor’s significant investment underscores the company’s confidence in Philips’ transformation into a health technology company and its growth and value potential,” said Philips CEO Feike Sijbesma. Philips, originally an industrial group that initially manufactured light bulbs, intends to invest more in the areas of personal health and health systems.

To this end, Philips invested almost two billion euros in research and development in 2021 – investments that are gradually paying off. The Personal Health division recorded growth of three percent in the second quarter of the current year, while group sales rose by nine percent to EUR 4.5 billion. Shares are up 35 percent year-to-date. In the morning they increased by around four percent to 19.22 euros.

Exor is to become a long-term investor

The Agnelli family has long focused on investments in the healthcare sector through their investment company. Agnelli family heir John Elkann said Philips’ focus on healthcare as well as technology is consistent with Exor’s commitment. The holding sees itself as a long-term investor in Philips and can increase its stake to a maximum of 20 percent. In addition, Exor will get a seat on the supervisory board. The investment company acquired the shares on the open market.

John Elkann, a great-great-grandson of Giovanni Agnelli Sr., who was one of the founding members of the Italian car company Fiat, was set up by his grandfather as his successor. Fiat was founded in Turin in 1899, and John Elkann, a family member, still sits on the supervisory board of the traditional car company. In addition to his position on the Fiat board of directors, John Elkann is also the head of Exor.

Shares in Ferrari, Juventus Turin and “The Economist”

For historical reasons, the business of the investment company also focused on the automotive sector for a long time, but that has long since changed. Exor is involved in corporations such as Stellantis, Ferrari and Iveco, among others. The family also has shares in the football club Juventus Turin and in the British business magazine “The Economist” through the investment company. The Agnelli family controls the holding through their 53 percent stake.

Exor had already announced in April that it had around 6.5 billion euros available for investment and wanted to focus on the healthcare, luxury and technology sectors. Recent investments include stakes in healthcare group Institut Merieux and hospital manager Lifenet.

Inheritance dispute shakes family

Most recently, however, the billionaire Agnelli family made the headlines mainly because of an ongoing inheritance dispute. Gianni Agnelli’s only surviving daughter, Margherita Agnelli, is suing her own three children from her first marriage in Turin. She accuses them of cheating on her in dividing the inheritance of Gianni Agnelli, grandson of the Fiat founder and father of Margherita Agnelli. Now she wants to fight for a fair share of the family fortune for her five children from her second marriage.

According to information from the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit”, the dispute between the mother and her children is about 4.6 billion euros. The court process in Turin has been going on for three years, and two other court hearings are currently underway in Switzerland relating to the inheritance dispute.

Should the court in Turin decide in favor of the mother, Margherita Agnelli could claim half of the estate – and that should not happen without affecting the car company and the holding company. At the beginning of June, however, the Turin court initially suspended the hearings.


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