James Murdoch’s firm will become an anchor shareholder in Art Basel’s parent company.
The 2019 edition of Art Basel in Basel. Photo © Art B
MCH Group, the Swiss parent company of the Art Basel art fairs, will have a new anchor shareholder, pending board approval: James Murdoch, son of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The decision confirms previous reports and comes as part of the company’s broader push for a capital increase of roughly CHF 105 million ($111.8 million), after it has struggled amidst the numerous recent fair cancellations.
According to an MCH Group announcement, the current majority shareholder, the Canton of Basel-Stadt, will convert a CHF 30 million ($31.9 million) loan into equity. The group’s public sector shareholders will also waive their subscription rights. This will clear the way for the younger Murdoch, through his investment firm Lupa Systems, to buy shares in the company equivalent to anywhere between 30 and 44 percent, depending on how many other shareholders waive subscription. The public sector will maintain at least a third of shares.
This proposed change, which would leave MCH Group’s board of directors with three representatives from the Lupa Systems and three from the public sector, as well as two or three independent members, will take effect pending approval at a board meeting taking place on August 3rd.
Murdoch said in a statement:
MCH Group’s long history of innovation for customers, civic commitment to economic and cultural life, and deep investment in its platforms and communities make for a long-term business that can grow, invest, and flourish. At Lupa we are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Board, alongside our fellow shareholders, to help drive forward the business and create value for all stakeholders.