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BMW’s Falling Share Price Forces Billionaire Heir to Pay Up

Susanne Klatten, who together with her brother Stefan Quandt own nearly half of BMW, pledged 1.12 million shares on Wednesday.

BMW AG’s declining share price has forced one of the company’s billionaire family shareholders to pledge more shares to cover a loan she used to finance an investment in a luxury high-rise building in Frankfurt.

Susanne Klatten, who together with her brother Stefan Quandt own nearly half of BMW, pledged 1.12 million shares on Wednesday, according to a financial disclosure released Friday afternoon. Based on BMW’s share price Wednesday, the shares are worth about 72 million euros ($82 million). Klatten’s net worth is $18.9 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.

Susanne Klatten, billionaire and chairman of SGL Carbon SE, looks on at the German Foundation of Family Businesses conference in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, June 8, 2018. Germany is doing everything it can to prevent a messy British exit from the European Union without a satisfactory deal on its relationship with the EU, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said. The pledge was for a loan that Klatten had used to finance her investment in the Winx Riverside Tower, a spokesman for the Klatten family confirmed.

The Winx Riverside is a luxury high-rise office building in Frankfurt nestled on the banks of the Main river that its developer advertises as laying the city and river “at the beholder’s feet.”

Billionaire Burden

Due to BMW’s falling share price -- down 16% over the past year -- Klatten had to put up additional stock to cover her loan, the spokesman said.

While Klatten and her brother usually stay out of the public eye, the siblings recently gave an interview to Manager Magazin in which they said inherited wealth was a misunderstood burden and that people underestimate the downsides of controlling billions.

BMW has battled trade tensions and slowing global markets this year, even as it invests in the disruptive shift to self-driving, electric vehicles. Earnings during 2019 will be “well below” last year’s levels, the company has said, partly due to investment in developing new technology. A spokesman for BMW declined to comment on shareholder matters.

By Oliver Sachgau

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