German billionaire twins in their seventies are quietly revolutionizing the healthcare industry, beginning with a vaccine.

German billionaire twins in their seventies are quietly revolutionizing the healthcare industry, beginning with a vaccine.

Private Equity Giants: The Struengmann Brothers and Their Deals with EQT AB


Private equity firms are turning to super-rich families for investment opportunities as they seek alternative sources of capital in a challenging fundraising environment. The Struengmann brothers, billionaire twins worth about $24 billion, have emerged as key players in this trend, with their recent agreement to lead the purchase of EQT AB’s hand-sanitizer maker, Schuelke & Mayr GmbH. This marks the sixth major deal between the brothers and the Swedish private equity firm within the past decade.

The deal, which values the German company at around €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion), highlights how private equity firms are forming alliances with wealthy families to diversify their sources of capital. The Struengmanns’ partnership with EQT started in 2014 when they jointly acquired Siemens AG’s hearing aid division. Since then, they have collaborated on various investments, including the 2019 purchase of Nestle SA’s skin-health unit and the acquisition of SHL Medical, a Swiss provider of drug-delivery solutions.

In an environment where investment opportunities are abundant, family offices are increasingly seeking alignment of values with their investment partners. Per Franzen, head of private capital at EQT, emphasizes the importance of shared values, stating, “The ‘why’ we do what we do is as important as, if not more, than the ‘what’ or the ‘how.’” This sentiment resonates with the Struengmanns, who have built their fortune by reallocating proceeds from their family’s generic drug firms. They prioritize investments in the health sector, a field they are well-versed in and passionate about.

Aside from their investments in pharmaceuticals and healthcare, the Struengmanns have expanded their wealth into real estate, energy, and finance. Their diverse portfolio includes the sale of German lender Suedwestbank AG in 2017, where they earned more than double their initial investment made almost two decades prior. In 2021, they allocated funds to NexWafe, a German solar wafer producer. Their investments are managed through their family office, Athos, which oversees a combined stake of approximately $10 billion in BioNTech SE, the German company that developed a highly successful Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with Pfizer Inc.

The success of the Struengmanns’ investments is driven by their patience and willingness to take risks. Although they initially planned to limit their investments in the biotech sector to €1 billion, they surpassed this threshold due to the potential they witnessed. “You want to see your little plants continue to grow,” says Thomas Struengmann in an interview with Handelsblatt in 2019.

The Struengmann brothers’ partnership with EQT and their remarkable success in various industries demonstrate the power of collaboration between private equity firms and wealthy families. As these alliances continue to shape the investment landscape, it is clear that shared values and a mutual understanding of long-term growth strategies are crucial for sustained success.