"Adolf Merckle, the German billionaire who lost large sums by betting on falling share prices, may have to hand over control of large parts of his industrial empire to his banks.
Bankers close to the discussions told the Financial Times that Mr Merckle and his five leading banks came to an agreement on Wednesday night.
The accord would see the banks in effect take control of Mr Merckle’s three main companies: HeidelbergerCement, the listed cement company in which he owns a stake of more than 80 per cent; Ratiopharm, Germany’s largest generic drugs maker; and Phoenix, the country’s largest drugs wholesaler."
Someone added : “It could well be that all three companies will be sold” .
Read : http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/41c64226-c17b-11dd-831e-000077b07658.html.
A very personal comment : I remember that it 1993 a flourishing Belgian cement group, roaring to develop its place in the international markets, was sold by its shareholders to a German group. For what it's worth, I still believe that was a wrong move.
Fifteen years later, the acquiring German group may have to go through the same traumatic experience. I do not wish that experience on anyone, although I must admit that the Germans did everything in their power to make the transition as smooth as possible.