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Lagardère in discussions to revamp company governance

In France, the Lagardère group, owner of Hachette Livre, has confirmed that negotiations are under way to transfer the group into a joint stock company, reports the Bookseller.

The move would involve general and managing partner Arnaud Lagardère relinquishing full management control of the company in exchange for a reported €200 million and €250 million (A$310m and A$387m) payment. Lagardère’s father set up the company in 1992 under a special status unique to France called commandite, which allows Lagardère a veto power on most company issues despite owning just a seven percent stake.

Reports suggest that Lagardère would stay in his job until 2026, but would be accountable to the board of directors. The number of directors representing each shareholder is being negotiated, as is the possibility of a clause to prevent a takeover bid by any one of them.

According to the Financial Times, Lagardère has been backed into a corner by Vincent Bolloré, owner of the Vivendi media company, which has built up a 29 percent stake in Lagardère, as well as Amber Capital, which has ‘long agitated for change’ and owns a 20 percent stake.

In confirming that discussions are underway, Lagardère said ‘there can be no certainty’ about the outcome, and that it would make no further statement until it ‘communicate(s) in due course’.


Category: International news