74 Year old German Billonaire "Commits Suicide" due to "Loses"

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Offline Revolt426

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74 Year old German Billonaire "Commits Suicide" due to "Loses"
« on: January 07, 2009, 05:18:20 PM »
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/business/worldbusiness/07merckle.html?ref=your-money

Facing Losses, Billionaire Takes His Own Life

FRANKFURT — Adolf Merckle, the German billionaire whose speculation in volatile Volkswagen stock had pushed his sprawling business empire to the edge of ruin, has committed suicide, his family said Tuesday.
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Reuters
Adolf Merckle, 74, was ranked as the world's 94th richest person in 2008, according to Forbes magazine.

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Mr. Merckle, 74, was found dead on railroad tracks near his villa in the southern German hamlet of Blaubeuren on Monday evening. German authorities in the nearby city of Ulm confirmed the death and said there was no sign anyone else was involved.

“The distress to his firms caused by the financial crisis and the related uncertainties of recent weeks, along with the helplessness of no longer being able to handle the situation, broke the passionate family businessman, and he ended his life,” the family said in a statement.

The police said a suicide note had been found; its contents were not publicly released.

More than any other single investment, Mr. Merckle’s poorly timed bet on Volkswagen shares caused the financial distress that led to his death.

Last fall, Mr. Merckle lost hundreds of millions of euros when he was caught in a brief but ferocious speculative riptide linked to a campaign by Porsche, the sports car manufacturer, to seize control of Volkswagen. He was facing the dismantling of his empire and the sale of major holdings at the time of his death.

Porsche announced late Monday — around the time Mr. Merckle was taking his own life — that it had acquired slightly more than 50 percent of Volkswagen shares, up from a 42.6 percent voting stake in October. Porsche has said it planned to buy 75 percent of Volkswagen during the course of the year, as it seeks more operating control of Europe’s biggest carmaker.

A native of Dresden who made his way to Western Germany after World War II, Mr. Merckle parlayed a family business in chemicals into one of the biggest pharmaceutical concerns in the world. Ratiopharm, a maker of generic medicines that was a recognized brand itself, became the pride of the family.

Other businesses included Phoenix, a pharmaceutical wholesaler; and HeidelbergCement, a building materials supplier that in 2007 acquired a British rival, Hanson, to become a leading global player.

Forbes estimated Mr. Merckle’s fortune at $9.2 billion in 2008, making him No. 94 on its list of the world’s richest people.

The financial crisis began taking its toll on HeidelbergCement last year as the debt incurred to buy Hanson became more burdensome.

Standard & Poor’s lowered the company’s credit rating as liquidity became scarcer in global market turmoil.

In November, it became clear that Mr. Merckle had lost an amount of money in the “low hundreds of millions” by wagering that shares in Volkswagen would fall, a financial transaction known as short-selling.

The bet had put him up squarely against a celebrated family, the Porsches. The sports car manufacturer from nearby Stuttgart was in the process of taking over Volkswagen.

On Oct. 26, Porsche announced it had secured stock and options equivalent to about 75 percent of Volkswagen shares. Short-sellers, who borrow shares and sell them, hoping to buy them back later at a lower cost, were caught in a bind, since the revelation implied a shortage of VW shares to cover the short-selling.

Intense demand caused VW shares to skyrocket to just over 1,000 euros ($1,260), from 210 euros in two trading sessions. That briefly made the automaker the world’s most valuable company by market capitalization.

Porsche subsequently sold some of its VW shares to ease the tension in the market, but not before the episode upset the weightings in Germany’s benchmark DAX index and injured the country’s reputation as a financial center, in the estimation of many investors.

Volkswagen shares were up 12 percent on Tuesday, to close at 285 euros.

For Mr. Merckle, the damage was more concrete.

The last weeks of his life were spent wrangling with a consortium of banks for a bridge loan that would tide over his investment vehicle, VEM Vermögensverwaltung. It became increasingly clear that Mr. Merckle would have to sell part or all of Ratiopharm, widely regarded as his most attractive asset.

The situation cost speculators in New York and London dearly, leading to a fair amount of schadenfreude in Germany, where financial trickery is looked upon with much disdain. Among the known short-sellers were two large hedge funds, Glenview Capital and Greenlight Capital.

Germans were bewildered to discover that one of their own had also engaged in speculation, but their sympathy was not aroused.

The Merckle family was based in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg, home to many privately held companies that are heavyweights in their field. The governor of the state, Günther Oettinger, briefly considered guaranteeing a loan for Mr. Merckle, but quickly pulled back amid a public outcry.

Mr. Oettinger said in a statement on Tuesday that he was “deeply shaken” by the news of Mr. Merckle’s death. He lauded Mr. Merckle as a man who took his social responsibilities seriously while building up a family-owned business “of European significance.”

Like many wealthy German families, the Merckles were well known, but avoided the limelight, especially recently as the patriarch’s financial distress deepened. Until recently, Mr. Merckle’s son, Philipp Daniel, one of his four children, ran Ratiopharm.
"Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate … It will purge the rottenness out of the system..." - Andrew Mellon, Secretary of Treasury, 1929.

Offline gEEk squad

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Re: 74 Year old German Billonaire "Commits Suicide" due to "Loses"
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2009, 02:43:16 PM »
He went from top 50 richest people in the world to only the top 100. Definitely a reason to commit suicide.

There is no proof of suicide. I haven't even heard about a note.

Offline Intruth

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Re: 74 Year old German Billonaire "Commits Suicide" due to "Loses"
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2009, 11:41:49 AM »
I heard somewhere yesterday that the trillionares are killing the billionares.
"I am the way, the TRUTH and the life". Jesus

Offline Dig

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Re: 74 Year old German Billonaire "Commits Suicide" due to "Loses"
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2009, 02:41:07 AM »
I heard somewhere yesterday that the trillionares are killing the billionares.

welcome to the pyramid.

they really believe...

"There can be only one."

Hey billionaires...come forward before you also get "suicided"
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

deconstructmyhouse

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Re: 74 Year old German Billonaire "Commits Suicide" due to "Loses"
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2009, 02:43:45 AM »
suddenly being poor never felt so good