|Birth Day:||August 10, 1961|
|Birth Place:||Paris, France|
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After studying in Paris, France, and apprenticing at London Merchant Securities in England, he earned a degree in business and finance from New York University.
Nicolas and his younger brother Olivier attended the École alsacienne in Paris. Growing up in Paris in the 1970s, Berggruen spent his time reading. He was particularly drawn to the work of French philosopher Jean-Paul Satre and the issues of political governance. Berggruen attended high-school at Le Rosey in Switzerland. He became interested in Marxism and by 15 had written a constitution for a utopian country. Berggruen refused to learn to speak English at the time because he thought it was “the language of imperialism.” He describes himself as having had a rebellious nature, frequently challenging teachers on intellectual matters. At 16, Berggruen passed his state exams in Paris, before completing a baccalauréat in Paris as a candidat libre. In 1978, Nicolas moved to London where he became fluent in English and trained under property developer and philanthropist Lord Max Rayne at London Merchant Securities, known today as LMS Capital Plc.
In 1979, 17-year old Berggruen moved to New York to attend New York University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Finance and International Business in 1981.
In 1984, he founded Berggruen Holdings, Inc. to act as investment adviser to the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Trust. In 1988, he and Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Jr. co-founded Alpha Investment Management, a hedge fund that was reportedly sold to Safra Bank in 2004.
In 2005, for the symbolic fee of 1 euro, Berggruen bought the insolvent German retailer Karstadt, investing over 65 million euros (US$83 million) and saving over 25,000 jobs. Commenting on the importance of the retail brand, Berggruen said: “We want to take a brand with a big presence all across Germany and restore it to all its former glory.” In 2010, having spent 400 million euros, he brought the company out of bankruptcy.
Through his first investment vehicle, Freedom Acquisitions, Berggruen bought a stake in the hedge fund group GLG Partners in 2007. In 2009, with his second fund, Liberty Acquisitions, Berggruen bought Pearl Insurance, and in 2010, he bought a majority stake in the Spanish media group, Prisa, for a reported US$900 million.
In 2010, Nicolas founded the Berggruen Institute, an independent think tank with a mission to reshape political and social institutions on issues concerning governance, economic systems, globalization, geopolitics, and technology. To address these issues, Berggruen invested US$100 million into the institute, subsequently endowing it with an additional $500 million in 2016.
In 2011, alongside business partner Martin Franklin and investor William Ackman, Berggruen launched his third investment vehicle, Justice Holding, a cash shell company which raised £900m in its initial public offering. In 2012, Justice holdings took a £881m (29%) stake in Burger King Worldwide, Inc.
By 2011, Berggruen Holdings had offices throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia in Berlin, Istanbul, Mumbai, New York and Tel Aviv, nine senior executives, and owned more than 30 companies across various industries.
Berggruen launched the institute after a series of organized discussions in California aimed at addressing the states expanding debt. The talks became the Think Long Committee for California, a bipartisan initiative focused on reforming California's system of governance. The initiative garnered the support of prominent political players, including former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice, billionaire entrepreneur Eli Broad, former California governor Gray Davis, and Eric Schmidt the former CEO of Google. The sessions produced a bill to reform California's referendum system, which then California governor Jerry Brown signed into law in 2012.
In 2012, Nicolas Berggruen and Nathan Gardels published the book Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century: A Middle Way Between West and East. The book's central argument is that populism and short-term thinking have hindered the progress of Western democracies, while many authoritarian Eastern nations, China in particular, would benefit from strengthening their meritocratic systems with the popular legitimacy that is typical of Western governments. Published in English, the book was later translated into Spanish, Portuguese and other languages. The Financial Times named it as one of their "Best Books of 2012".
Berggruen is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Director on the Board of the Pacific Council on International Policy, a member of Foro Iberoamericano, a member of the Helena Group, and a member of the Commission on Global Ethics and Citizenship. In 2013 he was appointed by Harvard's Center for European Studies as its first non-resident Senior Fellow, and was named a member of the Brookings International Advisory Council and the NYU President's Global Council. In 2014 he was named a member of the Leadership Council at Harvard Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership, a member of Harvard University's Global Advisory Council, as well as a trustee of the Asia Society. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum.
In the mid 2000s, Berggruen Holdings began acquiring real estate across the world and on the American West Coast. In 2014, the investments became the foundation of Berggruen's NBP Capital, specializing in investment management, development, construction, hospitality, and property management services. In 2020, NBP Capital's market value exceeded $1 billion.
In 2015, Berggruen announced the launch of the Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center. In collaborations with various US, UK, and Chinese universities and institutions, the center brings together leading thinkers from around the world to ponder how culture and philosophy inform political thinking. The Center includes a fellowship program between Chinese and American universities, an ideas contest, and an annual $1 million philosophy prize to be awarded by an international jury.
In 2017, Berggruen purchased a 450-acre stretch of land in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking Los Angeles to create a 137,000-square-foot Scholars’ Campus to house the educational programs, fellowships, and scholars. Herzog & de Meuron and L.A's Gensler will lead a team of architects in the design of the campus. The campus, named Monteverdi, will build on approximately 22 of the 450 acre estate and delegate the remaining 95% as protected open space.
Bergruen was honored by his alma mater, NYU Stern, at the 2016 Haskins Giving Society Award Dinner for his commitment to business and public service. In 2018, he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
Currently, Nicolas Berggruen is 61 years, 0 months and 5 days old. Nicolas Berggruen will celebrate 62nd birthday on a Thursday 10th of August 2023.
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