Another uncharacteristic thing at Nils's and Lars's next monthly dinner meeting at Guy. Nils buys.
This meeting is about the real estate LLCs. This is where most of Nils's wealth and business curiosity lies. Lars has helped to shepherd the holdings into three limited liability companies, with Nils owning 60% of each. If that percentage is applied to the total value, Nils's share is over $10 million. This doesn't include the residences in Washington and California.
What about the other 40% of the LLCs? Nils has given that over time to relatives, out of some combination of generosity, love of family, and a grudging willingness to reduce his taxable estate. The biggest company of the three leases property to retailers and restaurants in a formerly run-down part of the city that has become trendy shopping. The rents there! Even in this mostly frustrating economy, some expensive things seem to sell. One of the other LLCs has an older but solid multifamily residential property. The third is a newer commercial development with (both Nils and Lars think) too much debt.
The properties are in LLCs, rather than held in Nils's own name, for several reasons. If operated properly, limited liability companies can be just that: protection from lawsuits, or more accurately isolation of liabilities within each entity. The company structure allows centralization of management, in this case with Nils and Lars as Co-Managers, keeping the passive investor relatives in the background. And having an entity rather than individual ownership of real estate makes it easier to give away some of the ownership.