KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22, 2014:
Hong Kong-based Jynwel Capital and chief executive officer Jho Low were featured in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, as the company, supported by wealthy Abu Dhabi Funds, reportedly sent a letter to Adidas AG’s Board of Directors on Monday, offering to buy Boston-based athletic brand Reebok.
The bid was for EUR1.7 billion (RM7.18 billion).
Jho, the third generation of a billionaire Asian family, had previously generated global headlines for his parties with Usher, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx.
Now, he is certainly drawing headlines for his astute merger and acquisition skills.
“The move underscores Jho’s evolution from tabloid fodder to someone with ambitions to be a serious player in global mergers and acquisitions,” according to The Wall Street Journal’s report.
The Wall Street Journal’s report mentions that “The 32-year-old grandson of a Chinese-born mining and liquor entrepreneur who was raised in Malaysia, Jho has cultivated relationships with some of the world’s largest funds, including Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co and the Kuwait Investment Authority, as well as billionaires like commodities-investing tycoon Tom Kaplan.”
The Low family’s estimated US$1.75 billion (RM5.7 billion) fortune was built by patriarch Low Meng Tak.
Teochew-speaking Meng Tak was born in 1922 in a village in China’s Guangdong province.
He built the family’s fortune in China and Thailand primarily in the 1960s and 1970s through his entrepreneurship in iron-ore mining and various liquor distilleries.
He also invested in real estate across Asia, in which a portion has been sold over the years, while the family continues to develop or sell the balance land bank.
Taking over the helm was the eldest son of Meng Tak from the second generation.
From his inheritance, he grew the family business in real estate investments, expanding this from Asia to international markets including the West.
At the same time, he had made investments in Asian stocks, and is both the chairman and shareholder of Frencken Group, a main board listed company with operations in China, Europe and USA.
Jho, along with his older brother Szen Low, a graduate of Cambridge University, is now the steward of Jynwel Capital, the third generation investment advisory firm of the Low family’s global investment strategy.
Jynwel Capital is no stranger to big merger deals, having purchased New York’s Park Lane Hotel for US$660 million in 2013 with The Witkoff Group and Abu Dhabi Government investment firm Mubadala, as well as EMI’s music-publishing business for US$2.2 billion in 2012 with global blue-chip investment firm The Blackstone Group’s GSO, music mogul David Geffen, Sony Corporation and Mubadala.
The Reebok deal demonstrates Jho’s maturing business and deal-making acumen.
Jho was educated at one of the world’s top ranked business schools, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School.
In 2003, while still at Wharton, Jho started his investment company, Wynton Group, with capital from friends and family, and became a millionaire before he graduated from Wharton.
The Wall Street Journal explains that immediately after Jho graduated, he secured his first big transaction in 2006 in Malaysian real estate, when he was funded by Kuwait Finance House via Islamic Finance Mudharabah to purchase the entire Oval Residences project of two high-rise apartment buildings in the prime location of KLCC Park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for US$87 million.
By 2008, the project successfully sold and closed in entirety, generating a project profit of close to US$20 million.
In 2008, at the request of the family, the Low family aggregated the vast majority of its fortune built over decades as part of the family’s estate planning.
This capital is now used for the Low family’s global investments, advised by Jynwel Capital.
Jho was faced with a cancer scare in 2012, which ultimately turned out to be a serious infection.
This was the turning point of his life, and helped persuade him to tone down his party lifestyle and refocus his energies on scaling Meng Tak’s philanthropic work globally.
Jho’s grandfather passed away from cancer in 2013.
These two events impacted him deeply, and in 2013, the Low family, through the Jynwel Charitable Foundation, committed US$50 million over 15 years to the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston, where Jho had spent six months recovering from his infection and cancer scare in 2012.
After investing in global commodities company Electrum Group with Mubadala and the Kuwait Investment Authority helmed by Thomas Kaplan, Jynwel Charitable Foundation also committed to US$20 million over 10 years to Panthera, jointly with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Hemendra Kothari, chairman of DSP Blackrock Investment.
Panthera is a non-profit organisation dedicated to preserving the world’s wildcat population and its environment.
“We like working with people who share our values and who are commercially oriented,” says Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, deputy Group CEO of Mubadala in his comments to The Wall Street Journal.
“When we find something interesting now, we tend to work together.”
For more information, read The Wall Street Journal article here.