Novomatic: Johann Graf transfers assets to son Thomas

Johann Graf, founder of the company of the gaming company Novomatic, has created a veritable empire. The 74-year-old is considered a multiple billionaire and has managed to turn the Austrian company into a real giant in international gaming. Now a generation change is looming in the empire. At least around a fifth of his shares in the holding company Novo Invest GmbH are sold by the company founder to his Thomas Graf and two managers.

Bürokomplex mit Glasfassade und Mitarbeitern in Büros.

Beim österreichischen Glücksspiel-Riesen Novomatic ist der Generationswechsel voll angelaufen. (©moerschy/Pixabay)

Handed over to close confidants of Johann Graf

Johann Graf is one of the most powerful men in the gambling business. The founder of the gaming giant, Novomatic AG, is now handing over this power to people he trusts. The CEO is said to haveabout a fifth of his assets assigned to his son Thomas Graf and the managers Ryszard Presch and Birgit Wimmer. Accordingly, Graf transferred a total of 20 percent of the shares in Novo Invest GmbH to the persons of trust. TheHolding company of the gaming group holds around 90 percent of all the company's activities and was previously owned solely by Graf. How many shares Wimmer, Presch and son Thomas each receive is not known.

But the fact is that Graf limited himself to a small circle of people he knew when allocating the shares. Son Thomas has been with the group for around 30 years and is CEO of the subsidiary Greentube. With Ryszard Presch, a new CEO was hired in 2017, who has been supported by Birgit Wimmer since 2018.Wimmer has an interesting double function. She is also President of the Board of Directors of the Swiss company Novo Swiss AG. And this holds the remaining ten percent of the Novomatic shares.

Generation change for the 40th anniversary

Every follower could see that the generation change was actively initiated a few months ago. Corresponding announcements were already made at the company's 40th anniversary last year. So now Thomas Graf in particular is following in his father's footsteps. Together with the electronics retailer Gerhard Brodnik, he founded Brodnik & Graf GmbH. In 1974, the two men began importing pinball machines from Belgium to set up in pubs and cafés.Six years later, Graf then founded the Novomatic Automatenhandels GmbH, which from then on dealt with the production of gaming machines. For Graf the key to a conceivably successful life. Bloomberg ranks the self-made billionaire 228 on itsBillionaires Index. According to Bloomberg, the entrepreneur created a fortune of around ten billion US dollars from the starting capital of around 50,000 schillings at the time. After Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz, Johann Graf is the second richest Austrian.

The speed with which Graf proceeded at the time was as impressive as his life's work. Just two years after founding his company, he was already able to cover around 70 percent of the market in Switzerland at the time. Ten years after it was founded, the entrepreneur already employed 23,000 people in more than 50 countries.Today, more than 30,000 people are still active for Novomatic, making the group one of the "big players" on the market

Many challenges ahead towards the traditional group

In addition to the Canadian company of the Gauselmann Group, Novomatic is the epitome of gambling for many players in Europe. The group now operates more than 235,000 slot machines around the world and employs more than 3,000 people in Austria alone. Numbers that impress. But at the same timeNumbers that come with a lot of responsibility. And the Group faces some real challenges in the near future. In more and more countries, the switch from stationary to online operation is smooth. However, it is still unclear how Novomatic will be able to present itself here on the very important Canadian market.

In addition, the new generation will at least have to make sure that the "legacy" of the older generation can be eliminated.The so-called "Ibiza affair" still hovers over the powerful group. There have also been a number of gifts from Johann Graf to Tina Liebich-Oswald, some of them worth millions. In addition to this, Johann Graf is said to have shown enormous generosity to numerous other employees and relatives. Various media reports mentioned more than 150 donations. Also not entirely happy: In June 2020the founder had a dividend of 50 million euros paid out. At the same time, 120 employees were made redundant at the main location in Gumpoldskirchen. The group stated that losses of around 80 percent would currently have to be borne due to the corona pandemic. The fact that the founder then falls back on such a lavish dividend was not well received by all employees.

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The article was published on February 8th, 2021 in the Fraustest.com magazine under the keywords, ,, published.
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