Business Art Basel organizer calls on Murdoch family to help...

Art Basel organizer calls on Murdoch family to help – rts.ch

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To avoid the breakup, the MCH group, organizer of Art Basel and other fairs and exhibitions in Switzerland, announces the arrival of a new investor with more than 100 million francs. It is James Murdoch, son of the American media magnate.

In serious difficulties, the organizer of MCH shows and fairs wants to rely on the know-how of the Murdoch family to get out of the rut. The Rhine group intends to carry out a capital increase to the tune of 104.5 million francs and wants to make Lupa Systems, a company founded by James Murdoch, one of its main shareholders.

He is one of the children of Australian-American businessman and billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who notably owns the American news channel Fox News via the media giant News Corporation.

MCH said on Wednesday it was evaluating a participation by James Murdoch, an option which was finally chosen. The first contact with the businessman dates back to a year, President Ulrich Vischer told reporters on Friday.

An experienced “strategic partner”

American-British businessman James Murdoch in October 2019. [Matt Winkelmeyer – Getty Images/AFP]At the end of the capital increase, Lupa Systems should hold between 30% and 44% of the share capital of the Basel group, said this last Friday. The shareholders of the American investment company have signed a long-term relationship agreement and are committed to the strategic level.

The crisis that MCH has been going through for many years, against the background of the loss of influence of certain events such as the Baselworld watch fair, was aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic. In this context, the group’s president however excluded any sale of the Art Basel fair.

“With Lupa Systems, we have found (…) a strategic partner who brings a wealth of experience and who will help accelerate the necessary transformation of the company,” said Ulrich Vischer, quoted in a press release.

More than a third of the capital in public hands

The public authorities that are shareholders of MCH – which represent some 49% of the share capital – should retain a third-party interest in the long term. The cantons of Basel-City (33.5%), Basel-Country (7.8%) and Zurich (4%) as well as the City of Zurich (3.8%) are currently the most important.

The capital increase must receive the green light from an extraordinary general meeting to be held on August 3. This object will be included in a “package of emergency measures” intended to “overcome the effects of the coronavirus crisis”. In detail, the group proposes to convert a loan of 30 million francs from the canton of Basel-City into equity, an operation accompanied by a capital increase in cash of 74.5 million.

ats / oang

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