Italian investment house Exor is taking a 15% stake in medical technology firm Philips, making it the biggest single investor in the company.
Exor is owned by the Agnelli family, who founded car company Fiat and is listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange.
The company is putting €2.6 billion into the Dutch firm. Exor has some €33 billion invested in a broad variety of companies worldwide, including Juventus football club and The Economist group.
Exor says it has wanted to invest in a health technology specialist for some time and is “is fully supportive of Philips’ leadership, strategy and value creation potential,” the company said in a statement.
The agreement also allows Exor to nominate one member to the supervisory board and to “increase its participation to a maximum limit of 20% of Philips’ outstanding ordinary share capital”.
Philips is currently dealing with the fallout resulting from problems with its breathing equipment for sleep apnea sufferers and has set aside over €1.5 billion to cover possible damages claims.
According to the Financieele Dagblad, its share price has fallen 70% since the problems first emerged.
Philips has recalled 5.5 million machines and 17 million sleep masks worldwide after it emerged that tiny foam particles could be released during cleaning and then inhaled, while magnetic clips in the masks potentially interfere with heart pacemakers.
An Exor spokesman told the FD that the investment house was well aware of the sleep apnea problems. “This is a long-term investment which goes further than one current issue,” the spokesman said.
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