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The World's Most Interesting Billionaire is...


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Talk about living the dream!!




The son of a wealthy art dealer, Berggruen parlayed a trust fund worth about $250,000 into a fortune of at least $2.5 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Over three decades, the investor has gotten rich by tapping his worldwide network of business contacts to find mostly small beaten-down companies to buy, expand and sell.


Berggruen has also made money with four blank-check companies: shell companies that go public and then use cash or shares to acquire an operating business.


“Nicolas is a very insightful investor,” says James Hauslein, a private-equity investor who’s a former chairman of Sunglass Hut International Inc. and a former independent director of a Berggruen blank-check company.


and does this sound a little like someone we know?


Berggruen, who says he negotiates many of the buyouts himself, looks for companies loaded with debt or with family owners who are looking to retire. The firms also need to have strong cash flows and defensible business models. After restructuring the company’s debt and investing in expansion, he’ll often hold it for a decade or more before selling. He says that he rarely fires rank-and-file workers, because his goal is to grow revenue. But he does typically shake up top management.


It is always a question of finding the right people,” he says.



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Well, I knew him and followed him for some time, specially after his purchase of the department store chain "Karstadt" out of bankruptcy in 2010

for the symbolic price of 1 Euro. That was some remarkable deal, and I compared it with Eddie Lamperts purchase of Kmart out of bankruptcy some years ago.

He probably cloned Lampert more than Buffett with this purchase, on a lucky 1 Euro price that not even Buffett might have gotten in any of his deals. Berggruen immediately provided the Karstadt company with a 65 million euro ($83 million) cash infusion and promised to spend 400 million euros over 5 years to revive the brand -- his highest-profile corporate rescue effort to date. I would guess his initial investment of 1 euro + the 65 million euro cash infusion out of his own pocket might be worth some several hundred millions currently, if he wanted to sell out his stake.


Berggruen is a homeless billionaire, because he does not own a home and lives out of hotel rooms. His only major personal possession is a private jet. I would urge everyone to have a watchful eye on Nicolas Berggruen, since he should continue to compound his capital at astonishing growth rates.









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Very interesting guy indeed. I first heard of him when he bought an insolvent German chain of department stores (Karstadt - ugh, crosspost..). It seems that at this point he spends as much time on his various think tanks as on his investments.

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