If Toshiba follows through with its purported $2 billion bid for Landis + Gyr, the big winners will probably be Cameron O'Reilly and his dad.
Although the metering company can trace its roots back to 1896 in Switzerland, the company is actually the property of an investment organization called Bayard Capital. Bayard Capital bought Landis in 2004 for an undisclosed sum. Bayard, which invests in energy and water technologies, then rebranded all of its properties under the Landis + Gyr name.
Bayard was the brainchild of O'Reilly, an Irish national. His family runs one of the more powerful media conglomerates in the country. He has also worked at Goldman Sachs. He even managed the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, an Australian paper, in the early '90s. He founded Bayard "after a two-year sabbatical in France." Bayard made its first purchase in 2003 with Email Metering for $54 million.
He owned 7 percent of Landis in 2008, according to this report. The sale, thus, could net him $140 million. His father, Tony O'Reilly, may own another 7 percent. Tony started as a rugby player (even playing a stint on a team called the Barbarians) and became one of Ireland's richest citizens. His life is more interesting than yours.
While we're still trying to ascertain the price Bayard paid for Landis, the profit margin here seems like it could be pretty solid. Bayard started with capital totaling to 100 million Australian dollars.
100 million Australian. That's what, 50,000 Euros? Who says you can't make money off green technology? Maybe that explains the cocky expression in the stock photo.
Once again, the Landis saga shows that the key to success in greentech is the lack of interest in others. Landis was a struggling company in the '90s and changed ownership several times. ABB, the European titan hoovering up startups and established companies at the moment, filed for bankruptcy in 2002. It subsequently restructured.
Meanwhile, traditional VC firms did not participate in the big three solar IPOs: Suntech, SunPower and First Solar. Instead, the key investors were the People's Republic, T.J. Rodgers (Cypress only took over the investment later) and the Walton family.