Marine Log

December 8, 2006

Hamburg billionaire makes offer for Germanischer Lloyd

Just in time for a shareholders' meeting today Hamburg billionaire businessman Guenter Herz has made a firm offer to the stockholders of Germanischer Lloyd for their shares.

A press release from Germanischer Lloyd says the "friendly offer is aimed at safeguarding the sustained long-term development of Germanischer Lloyd as a strategically independent classification society."

Guenter Herz intends to purchase up to 100% of the company's shares, "with the goal of scuttling the hostile takeover by its French competitor" Bureau Veritas, says the release.

"With regard to its key points, his offer has been coordinated with the Executive Board of Germanischer Lloyd and is not subject to any conditions," says the release

The Executive Board of Germanischer Lloyd says it "welcomes this initiative by Mr. Herz, and is currently examining the details of his bid."

Forbes ranks Herz as 382 in its list of the world's richest people. Along with his mother and three brothers and sister, he inherited a fortune from his father, coffee magnate Max Herz. After what Forbes describes as "a nasty family feud," Guenter--who the eldest son--and his sister Daniela sold their stake in the family's Tchibo holdings to their mother and three brothers.

They bought a 25 percent holding in sportswear manufacturer Puma AG.

Herz sits on the Puma supervisory board, which may indicate that he would not be a passive owner of Germanischer Lloyd.

He's a horse racing fan who has his own stud farm.