Sep 25, 2009
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Celebrity designer mulls Club Med investment

Sep 25, 2009

PARIS, Sept 25 (Reuters) - French fashion designer Christian Auudigier is considering investing in loss-making holiday resort group Club Med (CMIP.PA) and would like to meet Bernard Tapie, a shareholder, to discuss a possible cooperation.

The Los Angeles-based celebrity designer, who was speaking to Reuters by phone, said on Friday 25 September he was prepared to invest 5-10 million euros ($7.3-$14.7 million).

Audigier was speaking after French weekly L'Expansion reported the designer was considering an alliance with Tapie to buy Club Med. The report helped bolster Club Med shares by 9.5 percent on Friday 25 September, traders said.

In June, Tapie created a stir when he bought just over 1 percent of Club Med. Tapie, who disagrees with Club Med's strategy, said in a June interview with Le Monde he was not a predator and did not want to replace the chief executive after the group posted a first-half net loss of 22 million euros.

Audigier, who is coming to Paris in November, said: "I would like to join Tapie's troops", adding he also would like to meet the head of Club Med, Henri Giscard d'Estaing.

"I would like to be part of story like that ... I am French, I was a (Club Med) client, so were my children and my wife."

Madonna, Mariah Carey, Sylvester Stallone, Britney Spears, Puff Daddy and Kanye West are among fans of Audigier's flamboyant tattoo-inspired Ed Hardy streetwear.

Tapie, a former Socialist minister under President Mitterrand, has clawed his way back into public favour after a spectacular fall from grace in the early 1990s.

The one-time president of soccer club Olympique Marseille resigned from government in 1993 after being placed under formal investigation by a judge for complicity in corruption. He was found guilty and sentenced to several months in prison. He has since turned to acting and sports commentary.

(By Julien Ponthus. Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by David Cowell and Dan Lalor)

($1 = 0.6810 euro)

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