John Elkann is the chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the world’s seventh largest automaker, and seems to have inherited the same talent for nailing deals as his swashbuckling grandfather, Gianni Agnelli.
The Agnelli family investment company led by Elkann – Exor SpA – is as of this week the biggest investor in The Economist magazine. Just a few days prior, they also secured a takeover win to purchase reinsurer PartnerRe for about $6.9 billion. “These deals show how John Elkann has matured, making him one of the most interesting dealmakers around,” comments Enrico Valdani, a professor of economics and business management at Milan’s Bocconi University. The moves also show a strategy to streamline the Agnelly family holdings – in May they sold off real estate company Cushman & Wakefield for about $2 billion. And all of them could be easily topped by him joining hands with Fiat Chrysler chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne to set up the merged automaker and then list the new company on the New York Stock Exchange.
Exor’s holdings are currently very wide – from FCA to Italian Italian football club Juventus. It also holds media stakes and shows Elkan’s flair for deal making being akin to that of his grandfather, Gianni Agnelli, who died in 2003. Following World War II he assisted in rebuilding Fiat as the country’s largest manufacturer, producing anything from cars to railroad cars, airplane components, tractors and trucks. He also acquired during a 30-year tenure as chairman, which started in 1966 auto competitors such as Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo.
Via Automotive News Europe