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Murdochs may be potential investors in Art Basel owner

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RUPERT MURDOCH, the entertainment and media mogul, is interested in providing capital to MCH Group AG, the company that organizes Switzerland’s Art Basel shows, Swiss newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft reported on Saturday.

MCH Group announced earlier in June that it is examining a capital increase to finance investments aimed at implementing its corporate strategy. The group said it was looking for new investors, as well as existing shareholders, to participate in the capital raise.

The Swiss events company is in advanced discussions with interested parties and James Rupert Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch and former chief executive officer of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. who is negotiating the possible investment on his father’s behalf, according to the Swiss newspaper, which cited sources it didn’t identify.

MCH Group declined to comment to Bloomberg.

The company said on Wednesday that its majority owner, the Swiss canton of Basel-Stadt, holds a 33.5% stake and has decided to waive its subscription rights in the capital raise, allowing for a potential new investor to take majority control. The canton’s government has also approved the conversion of a 30 million-Swiss franc ($32 million) loan into share capital.

The event organizer has been badly affected by lockdowns and bans on public gatherings in recent months as governments have tried to restrict the spread of the coronavirus.

The MCH group decided to completely cancel its flagship Art Basel show, which was originally scheduled to take place in June, amid worries about health risks and global travel restrictions.

The decision was made after talks with galleries, collectors, partners, and experts, event organizer MCH Group said in a statement Saturday. Earlier this year, MCH postponed Art Basel, which was originally supposed to take place this month.

Art Basel joins dozens of other fairs and auctions that have been delayed or canceled due to the coronavirus, including the Venice Biennale.

“Our teams are now focusing on the digital offerings around Art Basel, as well as on the realization of Art Basel in Miami Beach and Design Miami in December 2020,” MCH Group Chief Executive Officer Bernd Stadlwieser said.

The show in Basel, Switzerland, drew crows of 93,000 people last year and was the largest contributor to the group’s profit, according to Finanz und Wirtschaft. MCH Group’s market capitalization is approximately 104.2 million Swiss francs.

The group also canceled its flagship Baselworld 2021 event, which was due to take place Jan. 28 to Feb. 2 next year, after key watchmakers decided to ditch it. — Bloomberg





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