Bernard Arnault buys one-quarter stake in fellow French patron Arnaud Lagardère’s holding company
Bernard Arnault, Europe’s richest man, has acquired a one-quarter stake in Arnaud Lagardère’s holding company, in a move that will be seen as an attempt to support the family of his fellow French billionaire.
“The Arnault and Lagardère families have agreed to join forces within Lagardère Capital & Management (“LCM”), Arnaud Lagardère’s holding company. In so doing, they will share the long-term strategic interest for Lagardère SCA and all of its businesses,” the two clans said in a joint press release Monday morning.
Further to a capital increase and share purchase, Groupe Arnault will hold the “equivalent to around one-quarter of the share capital of LCM, which will bring together the ownership of Arjil Commanditée - Arco, General and Managing Partner of Lagardère SCA, and the 7.26% interest in Lagardère SCA,” the release explained.
The move comes barely a week after Lagardère was forced to fend off activist fund Amber Capital's attempt to replace the Lagardère supervisory board. The Lagardère group is a multimedia company boasting key stakes in such diverse titles as Paris Match and Le Journal du Dimanche, the latter being France’s key Sunday newspaper, and leading radio station Europe 1; along with significant duty-free store chains. Which should be of interest to Arnault, – the main shareholder of LVMH – who owns the world’s largest luxury group, with control of Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Hennessy brandy and one quarter of the world’s champagne.
“I have welcomed Arnaud Lagardère’s proposal to join forces with him. My friendship with Jean-Luc Lagardère (Arnaud's father) brought our families together, and I have the utmost respect for the group that he built. I am delighted that we are now, alongside Arnaud Lagardère, a long-term shareholder of the company that bears his name,” said Arnault.
The partnership agreement is subject to approval by the French financial markets authority (Autorité des marchés financiers).
“I am happy and proud of this link-up with Groupe Arnault; we have long shared the values of family entrepreneurship. Groupe Arnault’s exceptional achievements in France and worldwide, its success in the field of distribution and its investment in the creative and cultural industries, are aligned with the fundamentals of my Group and are the mark of an enduring and productive working relationship,” commented Lagardère.
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