Oct 15, 2007
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LVMH moves a step closer to buying French paper Les Echos

Oct 15, 2007

PARIS, Oct 15, 2007 (AFP) - The French luxury group LVMH moved a step closer Monday to acquiring Les Echos after the financial newspaper's owners, the British group Pearson, announced an end to consulations with the paper's employees.

Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH - Photo : Jean Ayissi/AFP

Pearson said in a communication to worker representatives here it considered that obligatory consultations on the sale with an employees' committee were now over.

"Theoretically, from the moment that Pearson says the consultations are finished, the signature (on the sale) could come at any time," a source close to the matter told AFP.

Pearson has been in exclusive talks with LVMH on the sale since June. LVMH is reported to have offered 340 million euros (483 million dollars) for Les Echos.

Worker representatives however oppose the sale and decided Monday to take legal action in a Paris civil court on grounds that they had not been given sufficient time to examine the matter.

"We contend that management has not respected the terms of the law that requires worker representatives be given reasonable time to consider the elements," said Antoine Boudet of the trade union SNJ.

A spokesman for Pearson said the group regretted that employee representatives had found it necessary to go to court but stressed that Pearson would abide by all legal obligations.

LVMH declined to comment.

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