Ikea boss handed billions to sons after legal battle, claims book

Book claims thrifty furniture billionaire battled to retain control but was finally defeated

Brussels

The founder of the Ikea furniture chain fought bitterly with his three sons over his fortune, with the famously thrifty Swede eventually having to hand over billions of euros, a new book due to be published next week claims. 

Ingvar Kamprad, 87, is rumoured to be so careful with money that he recycles tea bags and insists on flying economy. But the book, Ikea: Moving to the Future, claims he was forced to give up between €2.3bn and €3.5bn (£2bn and £3bn) after stepping down as chief executive of the company in the 1980s.

In excerpts of the book published in the Swedish business newspaper Dagens Industri this week, the authors allege that a row broke out between Mr Kamprad and his sons over a clause which allowed him to claim funds for intellectual property rights after he had handed the company over to a group of Netherlands-based foundations in the 1980s.

His sons Peter, Jonas and Mathias Kamprad hired an American lawyer to contest the patriarch’s right to the money, the book claims, causing him to “oscillate between being furious and destroyed”. After a lengthy battle – the excerpts did not say how long it lasted – Mr Kamprad gave in.

A spokesman for Ikea said it was “natural that books are written about Ikea” but would not comment on specific allegations in the new book, written by Lennart Dahlgren, a former Ikea executive, and researchers Stellan Björk and Karl von Schulzenheim.

Despite claims of a feud, Ikea remains very much a family business, with Mr Kamprad’s sons installed in keys posts as the octogenarian has slowly stepped back from the business. He officially retired as chief executive in 1986, but kept a tight grip on the running of Ikea while serving on the board.

He eventually retired from the board of Inter Ikea Group in June, saying the company was “taking another step in the generation shift that has been ongoing for some years”.

At the same time, Mathias Kamprad took over as chairman, with his father saying he was “well prepared” for the post. Jonas Kamprad is also on the board of one of the foundations which own Ikea, while Peter Kamprad is in charge of a fund which administers the family wealth.

Estimates of Mr Kamprad’s personal wealth, meanwhile, vary widely. In March Forbes said he was worth €2.4bn, while Bloomberg puts his fortune at €41bn. Whatever he is worth, he is renowned for not splashing it around, driving an old Volvo and flying economy class.

He has spent the past 40 years living in Switzerland to escape Sweden’s high taxes, but said this summer that he planned to return to live on a farm outside Almhult, the town in southern Sweden where he founded the company in 1943.

Mr Kamprad began by selling matches and pencils from a shed in his back garden. But it was his decision in 1956 to sell disassembled furniture which propelled Ikea to its current position as the world’s biggest retailers of furniture.

Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teacher

£100 - £130 per day + Excellent rates of pay, Free CPD : Randstad Education So...

Credit Controller (Sales Ledger, SAGE)- London, Old Street

£12 per hour: Ashdown Group: Credit Controller - London, Old Street A well es...

Y4 Teacher - Leicester

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: We are currently recruiting ...

VMware Infrastructure Engineer - (VCP, VMware) - £45k, London

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Infrastructure Engineer, VMware (VCP, NetApp,...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor