Grew up in France and Switzerland; father, Heinz, was once the world's largest Picasso collector. Studied business at NYU. Took first job buying and selling real estate for Bass brothers.
Founded own private investment firm 1986 (later renamed Berggruen Holdings). Bought stake in Portugal's Media Capital for $9 million 1992; sold shares to Prisa for $150 million after taking it public 2006. Invested $8 million in eyewear outfit FGX 2000, pocketed $200 million cash after selling part of stake to other investors, taking the rest public; today owns shares worth $100 million. Last year created second and third special-purpose acquisition companies (Spacs); has raised $2.6 billion to buy and sell companies, reap big rewards for shareholders. First Spac took GLG Partners hedge fund public last June; today owns shares worth $120 million.
Once shy investor ramping up public image; claims p.r. campaign will help with "deal flow" and philanthropic endeavors. Today invests in art, real estate, private equity. Owns Indian hotel chain, Turkish wind-power licenses, Israeli real estate. Homeless: sold apartments in New York, London, Los Angeles; lives exclusively in hotels.
Mr. Berggruen was born in Paris, where he studied at l’Ecole Alsacienne before attending Le Rosey in Switzerland. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Finance and International Business from New York University in 1981. Prior to Berggruen Holdings, he worked for Bass Brothers Enterprises on the real estate side of this family-held investment firm, as well as for Jacobson and Co., Inc., a leveraged buyout company. In 1988, Mr. Berggruen co-founded the Alpha Group, a hedge fund operation, which was sold to Safra Bank in 2004. He is a member of the WPO-Angeleno; a board member of Promotora De Informaciones, S.A. (Prisa) and Le Monde.more » « less