Jacob Rothschild’s Youngest Son in Corporate Twitter War With Former Indonesian Business Partners

By @ibtimesau on

The news that famous billionaire Jacob Rothschild is now the sole owner of a major semiconductor patent after four of the Chinese co-owners are presumed dead since they were aboard the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 is still hot, but another Rothschild is getting his share of the spotlight.

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The New York Times reported over the weekend that 42-year-old Nathaniel Rotschild, the youngest son of Jacob Rotschild, is involved in a nasty exchange of words in Twitter with his former Indonesian business partners.

Now going on for two weeks, the Twitter war has its roots in 2010 when the younger Mr Rotschild formed a company called Vallar which raised $1.17 billion to purchase mining assets. He then entered a corporate marriage with one of Indonesia's most powerful clans, the Bakrie Family by acquiring a 75 per cent stake in the Bakrie's Berau Coal and 25 per cent stake in Bumi Resources Group.

It led to the creation in April 2011 of a new company called Bumi where Mr Rotschild had invested about $120 million of his own money. The agreement had the Bakries appoint the chairman, chief executive and finance director.

Relationship soured when Mr Rothschild questioned before the board about alleged accounting irregularities which he also leaked to The Financial Times and Bloomberg, resulting in share prices of Bumi to plummet.

The Bakries left the board and new management took over, but Mr Rothschild  also attempted to have the new team removed, causing further erosion in Bumi shareprices by over 75 per cent since the firm went public in 2010.

The Bakries brought back their shares of Bumi after selling their share in the London-listed Asia Resource Minerals for $500 million, sparking the Twitter war.

Mr Rotschild has accused the Bakries of making Indonesia's investment climate unattractive, while the clan countered that the climate soured only because a minority shareholder tried to gain control using a dirty trick.

Mr Rotshchild shot back, asking why are shares of Bakries' various businesses trading at zero equity value which resulted in the Oxford-educated former playboy and Aga Bakrie calling each other dumb.

The issue appears far from being resolved.

Meanwhile, the elder Mr Rotschild is the subject of speculation over his benefitting from the alleged death of the four patent co-owners who are now presumed to be dead, according to the Malaysian government. Pundits see a link between the disappearance of the plane and the air carrier using the systems manufactured by his company, Freescale Semiconductor, that could make an aircraft disappear from the radar. 

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