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Ikea's cheap furniture turns founder's 3 sons into billionaires

Lauren Lyster
Daily Ticker

Ikea, the world's largest furniture retailer, has mastered making $19.99 coffee tables and couches for less than $500. Selling this cheap furniture has amounted to billions for not only the chain's founder, but his children, too.

It was already known that the Ikea empire had made founder Ingvar Kamprad Sweden's richest man and the seventh richest person in the world, with a net worth between $47 billion to $48 billion. But now Bloomberg Billionaires has discovered that Kamprad's three sons -- Peter, Jonas and Mathias -- are also billionaires.

"Kamrad set up Ikea in this odd, foundation-like structure, where he basically said he gave it away to charity," Matt Miller, managing editor of Bloomberg Billionaires tells us in the accompanying video. "But in Europe, you typically set up foundations ... essentially to protect your assets from taxes, and it's basically estate planning."

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Ikano, one of the companies within this structure, controls four Ikea stores, $2.2 billion in property and a "huge" credit card business that processed $6.7 billion in transactions in 2012, reports Bloomberg. Miller says the three sons own that, which is worth more than $3 billion. Split evenly, that makes them each billionaires.

Each brother serves as a boardmember of one of the three companies that make up the Ikea group, accordng to Bloomberg, and they've spent most of their careers working for the family business.

But not much is known about the next generation of Ikea billionaires, other than the general range of their age (forties).

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The family is "famous for being frugal and being below the radar," says MIller, explaining that none of the three brothers has ever given a press inteview.

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Meanwhile, father Ingvar has written this large manifesto about how to avoid frivolous expenses, things like flying in private jets, according to Miller: "They don't do any of that. They drive modest cars, they fly commercial -- everything to stay below the radar, but also to fit with the company's image of good quality, but also cheap furniture."

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