Qatar fund may seek Lagardere board seat
Paris, January 4, 2012
Qatar's sovereign wealth fund may seek a supervisory board seat and strategic partnership with Lagardere, potentially deepening its ties with the French media-to-aerospace conglomerate in which it is the biggest shareholder.
Qatar Holdings said in a letter published yesterday by French stock market regulator AMF it may raise its stake, but would not seek to take over the company.
Lagardere is effectively insulated from takeover by a governance structure, known as a commandite. This gives broad powers to chief executive Arnaud Lagardere.
The emirate has been a staunch supporter of Arnaud Lagardere even though some shareholders have assailed the CEO's strategy for the company his father founded.
Qatar Holdings notified the AMF on Thursday it had raised its stake in Lagardere to 10.1 per cent from roughly 7.6 per cent.
The news boosted the shares, which slumped more than 30 per cent last year as expected asset sales failed to materialise and Europe's economic woes weighed on the magazine and radio businesses that rely on advertising revenue.
Lagardere competes with Pearson and Bertelsmann in book publishing and radio.
Also a top shareholder in Airbus parent EADS, Lagardere issued two profit warnings last year as its fledgling sports business was plagued by operational problems.-Reuters