Stenbeck transforms Swedish family firm into major online investor

Swedish-American heiress Cristina Stenbeck’s bet on the red-hot e-commerce business has caught the eye of investors, although doubters question the future of her Kinnevik group in a sector where new players emerge almost every day.

Shares in Kinnevik, which Stenbeck inherited at 24 on the sudden death of her father Jan, have more than doubled in half a dozen years and outstripped some of Sweden’s other renowned family investment firms under her leadership.

Yet some critics regard Kinnevik’s investment shift into online retailing where entry barriers are low as foolhardy. They question the team Stenbeck has built, saying that while it is strong on banking and financial experience, it lacks the operational ability to build long-lasting web businesses.

In its nearly 80-year history, Kinnevik has made a habit of leaping from one growth sector to the next.

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