Jacob Wallenberg takes over as Investor chair

Claes Dahlbäck is stepping down as chairman of Investor after 27 years in the company, paving the way for Jacob Wallenberg - currently chair of SEB and son of Peter Wallenberg, the patriarch of Sweden’s Wallenberg dynasty - to assume an influential role in Swedish industry.

Dahbäck’s exit (he is resigning at Investor’s AGM next year) means that the cousins Jacob and Marcus Wallenberg, will hold the chairmanships of each other’s companies, Investor and SEB – a development which, according to Svenska Dagbladet, could be the first step towards an international bank deal involving SEB.

Dagens Nyheter, for its part, raised the issue of whether or not Marcus Wallenberg will stay put as Investor CEO. Having members of the Wallenberg clan as CEO and Chair of Investor may be unpalatable for some. However, representatives of Investor’s major shareholders, outside the Wallenberg sphere, are positive to the Wallenbergs taking a firmer grip on the holding company.

Meanwhile, Jacob Wallenberg lamented that industries do not generate jobs and warned that “jobless growth” – as the Americans put it – may be here to stay, reported Dagens Industri.

“This is a challenge for the entire western world,” said Jacob Wallenberg.

OMX buys Copenhagen bourse

OMX, with CEO Magnus Böcker at the helm, has taken a step closer to its aim of becoming a Nordic-wide bourse by launching a 1.5 billion crown bid for Copenhagen Stock Exchange. Analysts thought that the price tag was a bit too high but that the move by OMX wasn’t totally unexpected.

US software giant bids for Digital Illusions

US software giant Electronic Arts (EA) yesterday placed a cash bid of 61 crowns per share, or about half a billion crowns, for Swedish company Digital Illusions. The board of Digital Illusions is recommending the bid, which carries a premium of 21 per cent on the current share price. However, analysts think the bid is too low and sees EA raising the offer in order for the deal to push through.

EA is the world’s leading independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software for personal computers and advanced entertainment systems such as the PlayStation.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri


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Corporate deals set to take off in Sweden in 2011: report

Sweden is one of the hottest markets in the Nordic region for corporate mergers and acquisitions, according to a new report.

Eight out of ten managers at large Nordic companies surveyed by business consultancy KPMG expected the M&A market in Sweden to grow in 2011.

Corporate deal growth in Sweden’s neighbours Denmark, Norway, and Finland, meanwhile, was only predicted by about 60 percent of the survey’s respondents.

The results of the survey are published as part of an annual review of M&A activity published by KPMG entitled Competing for growth 2011.

“We see that both venture capital firms and industrial firms are well positioned for even more business in 2011,” Christopher Fägerskiöld, head of M&A advising for KPMG Sweden, said in a statement.

According to Fägerskiöld, venture capital firms have had a difficult time selling their holdings during the financial crisis, leading to a pent up need to sell.

“At the same time, they need to show they can make acquisitions, not least those who plan on taking in money for new funds,” he said.

Last year, there were 158 deals in which companies from outside the Nordics bought a Nordic company, an increase of 48 percent.

“The most notable example was that Volvo Cars was sold to Chinese Geely,” said Fägerskiöld.

“It’s the first time that a privately owned Chinese company has bought a large and well-known western European company. It may very well pave the way for similar acquisitions.”

Respondents to the survey singled out China as the non-Nordic country that will likely carry out the most deals in the Nordic region in 2011, followed by Germany and the United States.

“We see a large interest from Swedish industrial companies to strengthen their position in Asia by acquisitions or cooperation with local companies,” said Fägerskiöld.

Many companies feel pressure to act so that the competition doesn’t get to China first.”