One Step Ahead
After World War II, the Quandt family practically resurrected BMW and turned it into one of the largest transnational corporations in the world. In 2010, shortly after Michel Beloit wrested control from the Quandt family, BMW underwent a massive campaign of diversification.
Beloit was able to gain control of BMW thanks to the corporate warring between themselves and Keruba International. It's rumoured that Keruba International even went so far as to hire a mercenary team to assassinate several members of the Quandt family during a private wedding in Munich. This break down of the chain of command allowed Beloit to swoop in, undercut the Quandts, and seize control of the company.
Under Beloit's firm hand, BMW was able to acquire and merge with Fatima Petrochemicals, Saeder Munitions, and the German industrial conglomerate Thyssen-Krupp which had more than 600 subsidiary companies. This extended BMW's reach well into the Asian, Middle East, and Africa. It also allowed BMW to join the Inter-Corporate Council (ICC) in 2012, with which came the right to extraterritoriality.
BMW kept up its conflict with Keruba International for the next twenty years, though nothing like the initial fighting that spurred on the formation of the ICC. This war allowed them to develop a light armored transport vehicle that they sold several times over to the European Union, netting them a mint in the process and driving their stock price higher.
In 2032, Michel Beloit died under unknown circumstances. Many believe that the Great Western Dragon Lofwyr was behind Beloit's death, but it has never been proven. Regardless, Beloit's dutiful wife Willhelmina Graff-Beloit, assumed control of BMW after her husband's death and proved quite adept at the running of the company. Despite the opposition, her five year reign as CEO was quite successful. During her tenure, Lofwyr was working behind the scenes through shell companies and proxies to continue purchasing up all the available stock he could lay his claws on.
According to eyewitnesses, on one fateful day in 2037 Lofwyr entered into the boardroom in his metahuman form, announced that he owned 63% of S-K. Then promptly shifted into dragon form and asked the board if anyone had any questions. He then proceeded to vote himself President and CEO, and kicked Graff-Beloit off of the board.
Graff-Beloit tried to fight back through the Corporate Court. And when that failed, she tried to find justice in her own way, but was ultimately unsuccessful. Her team of mercenaries sent to assassinate Lofwyr were returned to her. As the story goes, the great dragon was so impressed with her nerve and resolve he let that one attempt slide. Though he did warn her personally that if she tried again she would pay with her life. Beloit-Graff fell into obscurity after that, only making blips on the radar when she moved to the Zurich-Orbital Habitat (Z-O) in 2050, and with her death from a stroke on January 25th, 2063.
Lofwyr restructured BMW to form Saeder‑Krupp, a private megacorporation fully owned by himself, and relocated the corporate headquarters to Essen in the Rhine-Ruhr Megaplex. This corporate HQ became the major division listed above: Saeder-Krupp Primer. Also known as the lair of the Great Dragon himself.
Once the restructuring was completed, Lofwyr went to work and over the next decades he brought large sections of European, Middle Eastern, and Russian businesses under the S-K umbrella by leveraging S-K's profits in steel production and arms manufacturing from the EuroWars.
His main targets were the heavy industry market, oil production facilities, mining operations, automotive and aerospace companies, computer electronics producers, software manufacturing, robotics, and information technology oriented companies.
Before long, with these acquisitions, S-K had set itself up as one of the leading Matrix Service Provider for Europe. Lofwyr took advantage of its ubiquitous presence to obtain contracts to build and maintain the Matrix infrastructure throughout Europe, parts of Asia Minor, and the Middle East.
Lofwyr also invested heavily into the energy, banking, and high-finance sectors. This was a brilliant play to supply S-K an unlimited amount of credit to draw upon in the future. It pretty much bankrolled S-K's expansion policies and helped in the sabotage of companies they were interested in acquiring.
Throughout the '50s S-K climbed slowly to the top of the pile until they became the single largest corporation in the world in 2054.
It's not like S-K wasn't without enemies though. During their dominance in the '50s several banking institutions tried their best to fight back against the corporation but to no avail.
Even when other companies were reeling and trying to hold on with the demise of Fuchi in 2059, S-K was able to remain strong. Lofwyr advanced a plan involving "satellite companies" with no known ties to S-K and swallowed up some of the banks that were trying to bring S-K down just years before, most prominently, a multinational conglomerate of Swiss banks call Schweizer Bankenverein.
In the 2060s S-K lobbyists helped push an economic initiative involving co-operation from both European governments and the corporations of Europe. This initiative called the New European Economic Community (NEEC) was publicly pushed by Zeta-ImpChem, the Frankfurt Bank Association, Hildebrandt-Kleinfort-Bernal, and Erika. But as history has shown, it was really a vehicle for S-K to expand.
S-K even managed to come out of the Crash 2.0 relatively unscathed. Apparently, from word go, when building the Matrix infrastructure, Lofwyr had installed fail-safes to protect corporate nodes and computer systems. These fail-safes were put to good use, and allowed S-K to keep a majority of their data safe. Without the loss of data, they were able to get back up and running as if nothing had ever happened in almost no time at all.
The European governments weren't too thrilled with Lofwyr's plan, but considering he had saved the economy of Europe from certain disaster they had to admit it wasn't the worst thing that could've happened. Many even went a step further and showed their thanks in the form of economic concessions to S-K.
Many economists believed that S-K would use the Crash 2.0 to dramatically expand their economic empire. But so far this has not been the case. They have instead been quietly selling off their least profitable companies, and buying up this and that with little to no fanfare.
Their largest expansion has been into the Native American Nations market. To date, their largest success stories have been those in the Sioux and Salish-Shidhe Council lands. But it hasn't all been good: the Tir's new government seems to be distrustful of the former Tir Prince.
- Arianespace (European space launching company, primarily operating from Kourou in French Guiana).
- ATT (British company operating on the telecom and drone markets)
- Barytech (one of the S-K two largest subsidiaries, with Ruhr Nuclear, and the most important of S-K subsidiaries not to be headquartered in Germany)
- BMW AG (automotive)
- GIAT Industries (French ground armament and munition manufacturer. It also owns a part of Esprit Industries' capital)
- Commerzbank, Dresdner Bank and Swiss Bank Corporation
- Hermes Eurocom and Ruhr Datafax (The two major Matrix provider in Europe, directly or indirectly operating the grids in Austria, France, Hungary, Poland and Spain)
- Krupp Group (Krupp is the heavy industry part of S-K. The group includes Krupp Manufacturing, Krupp Specialist Engineering, Krupp Munitions and Krupp Chemicals)
- Messerschmitt-Kawasaki (helicopters, boats, and motorcycles)
- Orbital Dynamix (satellite network)
- Ruhr Nuclear (world leader in fusion energy)
- Siemens-Nixdorf and Philips (electronics; both are members of the Eurotronics Consortium)
- Blood in the Boardroom, 37
- Corporate Download
- Corporate Shadowfiles
- Dragons of the Sixth World
- Germany Sourcebook, 65
- Rigger 3
- Shadows of Europe
- The Complete Trog, 77-78