The death of Berthold Albrecht, whose inheritance of half of closely held supermarkets Aldi Nord and Trader Joe’s from his father put him among the world’s 100 wealthiest people, may make his wife and children billionaires, according to a lawyer who advises on German foundation law.
Albrecht was buried last month in a private ceremony attended by close family and friends, according to a full-page death notice from his wife Babette published in Handelsblatt newspaper today. He was worth more than $10 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and was father to five children, including quadruplets -- three boys and a girl -- born in 1990. Their names could not be confirmed.
“If you have a normal relationship to your family, everyone gets something, your wife and your children,” said Dr. Hedda Hoffmann-Steudner, the head of the legal department at Berlin-based Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen, a non-profit organization representing the interests of German foundations. “There’s no standard way in Germany for the value being inherited to the next generation. It depends on every person, what he or she decides.”
Berthold Albrecht owned half of Aldi Nord and Trader Joe’s through the Markus Stiftung, a family trust, of which he was chairman. His brother, Theo Albrecht Jr., owns the other half.
Diana Johne, a spokeswoman for Aldi Nord, did not immediately respond to a fax seeking comment on the Albrecht estate.
“Berthold Albrecht was a very loving and extremely generous human being, an exemplary husband and father,” his wife said in the notice, which did not mention the place or cause of his death. He was a “fighter, never losing hope right to the end.”
Berthold’s father Theo Albrecht Sr., who was one of Germany’s richest men when he died two years ago, turned Aldi into a global retailer, using a low-cost business model that revolutionized the German market with his brother Karl. The brothers split the company they founded in 1960 after a feud over carrying cigarettes in Aldi stores.
Karl Albrecht, 92, is the richest person in Germany with a net worth of $22.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg ranking. Retail billionaire Dieter Schwarz, 73, who controls the Lidl and Kaufland supermarket chains, is worth $20.2 billion. He is the country’s second-richest person. Lidl and Aldi are competitors.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index takes measure of the world’s wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York. The valuations are listed in U.S. dollars.