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Back to business for blackmailed BMW heiress Klatten

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Back to business for blackmailed BMW heiress Klatten
Photo: DPA
12:11 CET+01:00
Germany's richest woman, who was recently blackmailed by an ex-lover, hit the news again Thursday. But this time it was strictly business with a takeover worth almost a cool billion euros.

Billionaire Susanne Klatten said she is making an offer of €910 million ($1.2 billion) for the 49.9 percent she does not already own in German speciality chemicals group Altana.

Klatten is offering €13 per share for the roughly 70 million shares that are still outstanding. She owns 50.1 percent in Altana, which posted sales in 2007 of 1.4 billion euros, via a holding company called SKion.

She chairs Altana's supervisory board and the firm's CEO Matthias Wolfgruber said in a statement that he was "open" to Klatten's offer but stopped short of endorsing it, pending a closer examination.

Klatten is also a major shareholder in German luxury carmaker BMW, inherited from her industrialist father Herbert Quandt who saved the Bavarian firm from collapse in 1957 and built it up to the global auto power it is today.

At the weekend the 46-year-old hit the headlines with media reports that a former lover and Swiss gigolo called Helg Sgarbi had tried to blackmail her using secretly recorded videos of steamy hotel room encounters.

The blonde mother-of-three had a brief affair with the smooth-talking 41 year-old last year and even gave him €7.5 million in €200 notes that he said he needed to pay off the Mafia, German and Italian newspapers said.

The relationship then ended and Sgarbi tried to blackmail Klatten with the videos for €14 million. Klatten turned to the police and Sgarbi and his Italian accomplice Ernani Barretta were then arrested in January.

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