The Jacobs group said it is to sell a 16% stake in Adecco, the world’s largest staffing agency, as members of the Jacobs family seek to diversify by cutting their holdings in the company they helped found

Switzerland’s Jacobs family cuts Adecco holding

2:37pm EDT

By Freya Berry

LONDON (Reuters) – The Jacobs group said it is to sell a 16 percent stake in Adecco (ADEN.VX: QuoteProfile,ResearchStock Buzz), the world’s largest staffing agency, as members of the Jacobs family seek to diversify by cutting their holdings in the company they helped found.

Swiss investment group Jacobs Holding AG and members of the family, who also have a majority stake in Barry Callebaut (BARN.S: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz), will reduce their stake in Adecco to 2.5 percent in an accelerated bookbuilding.

A source familiar with the matter said the offer was being priced at between 71 and 73 swiss francs ($81.2 – $83.5) per share, valuing the stake at up to 2.2 billion swiss francs ($2.52 billion).

Klaus Jacobs, who helped establish Adecco, also founded Barry Callebaut. The firm is now the world’s biggest cocoa manufacturer, making chocolate for Nestle (NESN.VX: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) and Mondelez (MDLZ.O: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz), among others.

Jacobs Holding said Barry Callebaut would maintain its position at the heart of its portfolio.

The bookbuilding for Adecco, which will be run by Goldman Sachs (GS.N: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz), will see Jacobs Holding AG and some Jacobs family members sell 30.2 million shares, leaving them with 4.7 million shares in the company.

Adecco beat fourth-quarter profit forecasts and posted an increase in revenue for the first time in seven quarters earlier on Wednesday, helping shares rise 4.5 percent to close at 78.60 francs. A price of 71 francs would represent a discount of 9.7 percent.

“We seek to build a more diversified investment portfolio around Barry Callebaut with our professional holding company and we will decide on new participations and investments over time,” said Andreas Jacobs, Chairman of Jacobs Holding AG.

Adecco was not immediately available for comment.


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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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