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Philips gets huge $2.84 billion boost from billionaire Agnelli family

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The Italian holding company behind Ferrari and Christian Louboutin is buying a 15% stake in technology giant Philips, which continues to reel from a costly product recall in 2021.  

Exor, the billionaire Agnelli family’s holding company, plans to help Philips grow its healthcare operations following the deal valued at $2.84 billion. 

“The path of change taken by Philips in recent years has created a company that combines two areas – healthcare and technology – to which we are committed,” Exor CEO John Elkann said in a statement Monday

Exor has confirmed that its intentions as a long-term shareholder are not to exceed the 15% stake in Philips. However, the company expressed the possibility of increasing its stake to a maximum of 20% in the future.

A boost amid challenges at Philips

Amsterdam-based Philips, once known for its consumer electronics and household appliances, has tried to shift to healthcare tech in recent years.

But its grand plans went awry after some of its medical devices used for sleep apnea were recalled due to the risk of patients inhaling hazardous chemicals from the foam in the machine. 

The controversy led to nearly five million such devices being recalled worldwide. A slew of lawsuits followed from patients who claimed to suffer health consequences due to the respiratory device. 

Since the initial recall in June 2021, Philips’ shares have plummeted more than 60%. Philips continues to fix its respiration devices into 2023.  

Its deal with Exor marks a welcome endorsement for the 132-year-old company as it navigates the fallout. 

“It is great to have a shareholder make this significant long-term investment as it expresses the confidence Exor has in the healthcare sector, as well as their confidence in Philips, our strategy, our teams to execute upon it and our growth and value creation potential,” a Philips spokesperson told Fortune

The Dutch tech giant raised its full-year earnings forecast in June, noting improved supply chain operations and efficiency measures.

Exor under Elkann

Exor is among the most influential holding companies in Europe with a market capitalization of $21 billion.

53 percent of the company is owned by the Agnelli family, whose patriarch Giovanni Agnelli founded the automaker Fiat.  

Although the Agnelli family began with a focus on automotives, under Elkann’s leadership, it has diversified its holdings across different sectors from luxury to sports and technology. 

Exor is the largest shareholder in carmakers Ferrari and Stellantis, and owns football club Juventus.

It also owns a stake in The Economist Group and French luxury shoemaker Christian Louboutin.

In recent years, Exor has begun investing in healthcare companies including hospital management company Lifenet and public health research company Institut Mérieux.

With its investment in Philips, Exor’s Elkann said he was “committed” to the Dutch behemoth’s pursuit of health and tech innovations. 

Representatives at Exor didn’t immediately return Fortune’s request for comment.



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