SHAREHOLDER BATTLES pit managers in opposition to traders at crowded annual conferences. Amid covid-19 the one between the bosses of Lagardère, an ailing conglomerate, and some irate house owners occurred largely behind closed doorways. On Could fifth an activist hedge fund’s bid to topple the scion operating the erstwhile blue chip was foiled by l’institution. The reprieve could show short-lived.
Not even hardened habitués of Parisian society galas can defend the monitor document of Arnaud Lagardère. His father, Jean-Luc, an industrialist of the old-fashioned, deftly navigated the couloirs of energy to construct an empire spanning media, publishing and defence. His loss of life in 2003 left the group within the arms of his solely son. Now 59, and having married a Belgian mannequin, Arnaud is extra regularly seen in gossip pages than the enterprise ones.
Lagardère fils lacks his father’s contact. Some items, just like the Hachette publishing arm, have fared decently. However his huge thought was to promote the group’s 15% stake in what’s now Airbus (created partly with Lagardère property) in 2006 and 2013, and reinvest the proceeds in glamorous ventures like sports activities. The Airbus stake alone would now be price over €6bn ($6.8bn), thrice Lagardère’s market worth. The group crashed out of the CAC 40 index of main French corporations a decade in the past.
A London hedge fund argued contemporary management might increase returns. Amber Capital constructed an 18% stake, greater than the 7% owned by Mr Lagardère, whose grip is aided by an antiquated company construction that blends a partnership with restricted legal responsibility. The besieged inheritor known as on some highly effective friends, even co-opting Nicolas Sarkozy, a former French president, to the board. A state-run fund with a 3% holding additionally backed him.
Mr Lagardère’s place will not be secure for lengthy. A agency managed by Vincent Bolloré, a French tycoon, final month took an 11% stake within the group. Mr Bolloré has a knack for coming in as a white knight earlier than turning hostile. Mr Lagardère has received his battle in opposition to Amber. He could lose the warfare for management.
This text appeared within the Enterprise part of the print version below the headline “Reargardère motion”
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