Newspaper article International New York Times

Battle of Scions Moves to Twitter

Newspaper article International New York Times

Battle of Scions Moves to Twitter

Article excerpt

Insults were traded on Twitter in the split between Bumi, a London-listed Indonesian coal company, and its co-founders.

Like divorces by couples, corporate separations are rarely pretty.

But the split between Bumi, an Indonesian coal company listed in London, and its co-founders is turning out to be a particularly nasty and public one, culminating Wednesday with a tirade of schoolboy insults hurled across Twitter between the scion of one of Britain's financial dynasties and a member of one of Indonesia's most powerful conglomerates.

Here's what Nathaniel Rothschild, the 42-year-old financier, former playboy and a major stakeholder in Bumi (renamed Asia Resource Minerals in December) had to say on Twitter to his departing partner, Aga Bakrie, of the powerful Bakrie family in Indonesia:"I look forward to watching bumi Tbk trading to zero."

Then more: "no family has done more to blacken Indonesia 's investment climate than yours."

Mr. Bakrie's response left no doubt that the feelings were mutual.

"Indonesia is an amazing investment haven make no mistake," he wrote. "Its only bad when a minority try to take control by dirty trick."

Mr. Rothschild then inquired, not so gently, into Mr. Bakrie's other business interests: "pls explain why bakrie tel, Bakrie land, Bakrie bros, Bakrie palm, are all trading at zero. Zero equity value."

Behind the barbs is a business implosion with allegations of fraud, mismanagement and incompetence.

It began in 2010, when Mr. Rothschild -- who is the youngest of four children of Jacob, the fourth Baron Rothschild -- formed Vallar, a shell company, and raised $1.17 billion to buy mining assets. Through a JPMorgan Chase banker, he teamed up with the Bakrie family, one of Indonesia's most powerful.

Vallar bought 75 percent of Berau Coal and 25 percent of the Bumi Resources Group, both mining assets, for $3 billion in a deal composed of a combination of cash and new Bumi shares in November 2010. In April 2011, the company became Bumi. Mr. Rothschild put in about $120 million of his own money.

The deal allowed the Bakrie family to appoint the chairman, the chief executive and the finance director. …

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