HAUCK & AUFÄUSER

Fosun Clears Hurdle in German Bank Deal

Hauck & Aufhaeuser PR
Hauck & Aufhäuser was first established in 1796. It is now close to being taken over by China's Fosun.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Fosun is buying stakes in companies around the world that can help develop and feed the demand of China’s growing consumer class.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Fosun agreed to become the majority shareholder in Hauck & Aufhäuser for €210 million in July of 2015.
    • The approval process in Germany was delayed due to the brief disappearance of Fosun founder Guo Guangchang.
    • Fosun also tried to acquire the German private bank BHF Bank last year, but lost the bidding process to the French private bank Oddo.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

The European Central Bank and German regulator BaFin have cleared the takeover of Hauck & Aufhäuser by Fosun, Handelsblatt has learned, bringing the Chinese conglomerate a major step closer to owning one of Germany’s oldest private banks.

The review of the acquisition is complete and Fosun will be cleared as the bank’s new owner without any conditions, sources told Handelsblatt.

The deal is not yet finalized, however. The takeover also has to be approved by financial authorities in Luxembourg, where the bank has investment operations. The backing of the ECB and BaFin is considered pretty decisive, however.

Approving the merger was complicated by the disappearance of Fosun founder Guo Guangchang for several days last December while the review was ongoing.

Fosun agreed to become the majority shareholders of Hauck & Aufhäuser back in July 2015 for €210 million, or $234 million. Approving the merger was complicated by the disappearance of Fosun founder Guo Guangchang for several days last December while the review was ongoing.

Mr. Guo’s brief disappearance led to speculation that Chinese authorities had detained him as part of a crackdown on corruption. He later reemerged at a company meeting in Shanghai.

The president of Fosun, Wang Qunbin, said that Mr. Guo was helping police with an investigation concerning his “personal affairs.”

BaFin requested additional information from Fosun after the conglomerate’s shares were suspended following Mr. Guo’s disappearance, delaying the approval process in Germany.

Fosun also tried stage a hostile takeover of the German private bank BHF Bank for €543 million last year, but ultimately lost that bidding process to French private bank Oddo.

Mr. Guo, who grew up in poverty, founded Fosun with three fellow students for just $4,000 in 1992. Fosun has grown into China’s largest private corporation with a market value of $19.2 billion in 2015. Mr. Guo is one of the richest people in China with private assets estimated at $4 billion.

Fosun has gone on a global shopping spree, investing $25 billion abroad last year. The conglomerate has stakes in several German companies, including the agriculture company KTG Agrar and the fashion company Tom Tailor.

 

Michael Maisch is Handelsblatt’s deputy financial editor and is based in Frankfurt. Spencer Kimball of Handelsblatt Global Edition contributed to this story. To contact the author: maisch@handelsblatt.com

We hope you enjoyed this article

Make sure to sign up for our free newsletters too!