Petr Kellner, the wealthiest person in the Czech Republic according to the Forbes list of billionaires, was one of five people killed on a heli-skiing excursion on Saturday, March 27, when their chopper crashed near a glacier in Alaska, the New York Times daily reported.
The information was later confirmed by the spokesperson of the PPF investment group Kellner owned.
“In his professional life, he was known for his incredible work ethic and creativity, but his private life belonged to his family,” the company said of Kellner, as quoted by NY Times, adding that the funeral would be held with only close family members.
Business in Slovakia
The businessman, whose net worth has been estimated at $17.5 billion (or €11.2 billion) by Forbes, made his first fortune in the 1990s after starting an investment fund, which he used to buy a controlling stake in the country’s largest insurance company.
Apart from his business in the Czech Republic, where his PPF group controls companies in the banking, machine engineering, telecommunications, real estate and media sectors, he also had assets in Slovakia.
PPF group bought the Czech dominant mobile provider Telefónica, part of which is the O2 operator.
In 2019, the media outlets reported on the €2.1 billion purchase of CME, to which television channels Markíza (Slovakia) and Nova (the Czech Republic) belong. The acquisition was completed last summer.
“By purchasing CME, or its media activities in five European countries, we want to complete our telecommunications business in central and eastern Europe,” Kellner said, as quoted by the Index economic magazine.
The PPF group has been connected in the past with SkyToll, the operator of the e-toll system in Slovakia. The official shareholder was Czech business Petr Syrovátko, but his entrance to the firm in 2012 was financed by PPF, Index reported. Moreover, several people from PPF were sitting in its board of directors and supervisory board.