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Italy's Agnelli family becomes top Philips investor

Aug 14, 2023
Illustration of two people shaking hands on a giant stack of money.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Exor, the investment arm of Italy's Agnelli family, bought 15% of health care technology group Philips for about €2.6 billion ($2.8 billion).

Why it matters: Philips' stock price has taken a beating in the last two years following a large-scale product recall initiated in 2021.

Details: The transaction makes Exor the top investor in Philips.

  • Exor bought its stake on the open market and could raise it to up to 20%. Under a relationship agreement with Philips, it will take a seat on the company's supervisory board.
  • Until then, it will participate in meetings in an observational capacity, Reuters reports, citing a source close to Exor.

Between the lines: Although Exor isn't an activist investor, it plans to "play an active role in supporting Philips' strategy," Reuters reports, citing the source close.

What they're saying: "Exor's substantial investment underlines their confidence in Philips' transformation into a healthcare technology company and its growth and value potential," Philips chairman Feike Sijbesma said in a statement.

Catch up quick: Philips recalled over 5 million continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines in June 2021, after receiving complaints that the noise-reducing foam inside the units was blowing into users' mouths.

  • Inhaling the foam can cause "serious injury which can be life-threatening," Philips wrote in its company recall at the time.
  • While Philips attempted to repair the machines, the fixed ones were also recalled, per the FDA. Repaired CPAP machines were given the wrong or a duplicate serial number when Philips reprogrammed them.
  • The FDA fielded more than 98,000 complaints about the original Philips recall since April 2021.

Exor and Philips did not respond to an Axios request for comment.

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