Meet the richest Brazilian in the world who partnered with Warren Buffett to merge Heinz and Kraft

Kraft and Heinz are coming together in a massive merger that will create the 5th largest food company in the world. There are two investment firms behind it, Berkshire Hathaway and 3G.

Of course you know that Berkshire is helmed by legendary investor Warren Buffett, but 3G you may not be familiar with. It is helmed by the richest Brazilian in the world, Jorge Lemann.

Or as Buffett likes to call him, “Georgie Paolo.”

Over the course of his life, Lemann has gone from journalist to national tennis champion to banker and now billionaire investor.

“Money is simply a way of measuring if the business is going well or not, but money in and of itself doesn’t fascinate me,” Lemann said in January 2008, according to an interview published in HSM Management magazine. He declined to comment for this story.

Shows you that he’s just in it for the love of the game.

Lemann was born in Rio in 1939. His father was a Swiss businessman who immigrated to the country in the 1920s.

He left Brazil for Harvard, and earned his bachelors degree in economics in 1961. Lemann still has a great relationship with Harvard helping Brazilian students study there and setting up scholarships

After Harvard, Lemann's life was a mixed bag. He trained at Credit Suisse for a while and worked as a journalist at Brazil's 3rd oldest paper, Jornal do Brasil.

He was also a tennis champion. Lemann was Brazil's national champion 5 times. He represented Brazil and Switzerland (he has dual citizenship) in the Davis Cup. He also made it to Wimbledon.

Wimbledon Centre Court

In 1971 he bought a brokerage called Garantia.

Lemann wanted to turn it into Brazil's Goldman Sachs by adopting the American firm's partnership model. A few years later his current partners, Carlos Alberto Sicupira and Marcel Herrmann Telles, joined him (they are also now billionaires, by the way).

The trio, known as the 'Three Musketeers' would go on to buy Lojas Americanas SA, a now huge chain of retail stores in Brazil in, 1982.

In 1989, Lemann and co. acquired beer company Cia. Cervejaria Brahma, foreshadowing things to come. In 1993, he and his partners created buy-out firm GP Investimentos and started buying and selling companies.

Check out a commercial Megan Fox made for Brahma below:

(video provider='youtube' id='sAqlkXonrt4' size='xlarge' align='center')

Along the way, he built Garantia into a powerhouse, eventually selling it for $675 million in 1998.

Marcel Herrmann Telles

The market crashed just weeks after Lemann bought the bank, but he didn't care. He grew the bank for years until more than $US100 million in trading losses pushed him to sell.

From the Guardian:

A spell in New York watching new derivatives trading operations at Bankers Trust proved influential. In 1998 Garantía was sold to Credit Suisse First Boston, for $US675m (£337m).

That's when Lemann really blew up. He was nominated to the board of Gillette, where he met Warren Buffett.

Warren Buffett

Lemann is super private about his personal life, but we do know he moved to Switzerland in 1999 because there was an attempt to kidnap his children in Rio.

According to the WSJ, this helped spur Brazil's armoured car industry.

That same year, the 'Three Musketeers' created AmBev, a master company of all the brewers they'd collected.

Carlos Alberto Sicupira

All the while, GP Investimentos was growing into what would be the biggest listed private equity firm in Latin America.

Lemann and his partners founded an NYC based firm, 3G Capital in 2004. Three years later they merged with Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion. In 2010 they bought Burger King.

Sidenote: You can thank Lemann for getting rid of that creepy Burger King king, he fired the ad firm that came up with it.

The Burger King deal was a huge success. In 2 years they sold 29% of the company to hedge fund manager Bill Ackman's UK investment vehicle, Justice Holdings.

It set the stage for Lemann's 2013 deal with Warren Buffett -- buying Heinz. The $28 billion deal came together in 6 weeks. They used code names to keep it private.

That takes us to the $10 billion Heinz-Kraft deal. All signs point to more deals from Lemann, people say that he changed the way business is done in Brazil.

Brazilian billionaire Jorge Lemann speaks at Harvard

From Bloomberg:

'Jorge Paulo created a whole management culture in Brazil that is extraordinary,' (former Brazilian billionaire Eike) Batista told Bloomberg Markets magazine in an interview in 2012. 'He motivated employees by letting them share the profits -- aggressive, but that leads to results.'

And from Reuters:

'These guys have big ambitions and a lot of capital,' said one source familiar with 3G.

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